When anyone mentions running, most people might cringe, and while you don’t necessarily have to run, exercising is certainly something worth considering, when working towards recovery from substance use disorders (SUDs). While it may not be the only method that works to overcome SUDs, when it is combined with other treatment methods, it has been proven to be highly effective as stated by Claire Twark, MD. She cited several studies that were conducted on rats, and it was found that when rats participated in swimming, it reduced the voluntary consumption of substances. For those who ran on an exercise wheel, it was found that there was a decrease in the frequency of the administration of substances. Furthermore, in one study that was conducted using people as participants, they were asked to partake in an exercise program that lasted anywhere from two to six months and included three weekly group sessions. The results of this particular study were recorded five years after completion. It was noted that of the nearly 40 participants, 20 completed the program in full and of those 20, 10 people had significantly decreased their substance use and 5 people had stopped using substances altogether. While this study is smaller, it does provide promising information concerning the correlation between increased exercise and decreased substance use, which is very positive. You must ultimately find coping mechanisms and programs that fit who you are and will work the best for you, but exercising on a regular basis is certainly worth consideration.
No one has to tell you that exercising is good for your health, it’s common knowledge. However, when going through a significant life change such as moving into and maintaining recovery, it is important to note that the health benefits can be even more important for you than ever before. It is likely that you experienced significant changes to your health when battling your SUD and getting your health back on track will only make you stronger and give you the energy you need to keep moving in a positive direction.
When you begin making your physical health a priority once again, there are many advantages that exercising can bring you such as:
Weight management (whether gaining or losing weight).
Improvement of your mood and mental health.
Increase in your potential life span.
Reduction in risks for cancers, heart disease, and other health issues.
Helps metabolic function by managing blood sugar.
Improves mental acuity.
Even though it may take some time to notice a difference, you will be happy that you chose to engage in exercise. When done on a consistent basis, you will surely notice positive changes in your health and appearance.
Consistency Translating to Recovery
One important key to keep up exercise is finding something that you really enjoy doing. Coming up with a few different exercises will also help you to change things up so you don’t get bored doing the same things repeatedly. Being able to work exercise into your daily routine will ensure that you stick to it and make it a good habit that you incorporate into your everyday life. If you are able to get to a point where you can exercise every day, it proves that you can choose to do something and stick to it. This means that you are able to make good choices in other areas of your life and stick to them as well. All good decisions take time to come to fruition and to put into practice, however, once you make the decision to do something, your willpower will help see you through. Even small changes made over time can add up to big results, so don’t feel like you have to make all of these big changes all and once and overwhelm yourself. Take small steps towards progress, one day at a time, and enjoy the long-lasting fruits of your labor in all areas of your life that you put effort into.
When the time comes that you decide that you are ready to leave substance use behind and move on to better things is the perfect time to do so. You are probably aware that your whole life will change, but in many cases, change is for the better. Despite having reservations and fears about what the future will look like for yourself, know that it can only get better from here. For more information, call us at (805)719-7954.