Treatment for addiction is something that can begin with a formal program, where the addict or alcoholic will spend 30-90 days under someone else’s care, detoxifying and learning new life skills, along with forming important relationships with other addicts. But this is just a first step, and the real treatment is something that continues throughout their life.
In any stage of recovery, exercise seems to have tremendous benefits, so the question of can exercise help with addiction treatment is always a yes. There seems to be new evidence all the time to support this, and the numbers are certainly hugely in favor. It makes good sense.
In our culture, we have one of the most physically unfit populations on the planet, and it’s very odd when we consider how much we stress self-esteem in every level of social life. Exercise and self-esteem are intimately linked, because they have to do with body image, as well as reflect a general state of physical health.
Physical health does have a large role in mental and emotional health as well, for reasons that may seem fairly obvious. For an addict, however, there is a disconnect between the survival instinct and the urge to use, and making exercise part of the recovery is an active way of telling your own body that your survival is important. This is something that has been lost for addicts, and this is a great measure to take. It not only has an immediate psychological effect, but over time, exercise will start to have physiological effects as well. The release of endorphins is a way to experience a natural high, and one that reinforces itself through a body that works more efficiently, and also looks good. It’s a win-win situation, and one that has been proven to be effective for addicts and alcoholics in recovery programs.
There are many who will warn against the dangers of substituting one addiction for another, and of course compulsive behaviors should be avoided, but in this particular case, the benefits of a healthy body certainly outweigh the risks.