Physical Fitness Should Be an Integral Part of Sobriety
It is no secret that addiction leads to the deterioration of the physical body. Alcohol and drugs like heroin, crystal meth, cocaine, benzos, and prescription opioids are poison to the human system. They interrupt the body’s natural processes and negatively impact brain chemistry.
It can take up to one full year for the body to completely restore itself to a place of health and wellness after excessive drug or alcohol use. This is why sobriety and physical fitness should go hand-in-hand.
As the leading addiction treatment program in San Diego, AToN Centers promotes physical fitness as an integral part of our recovery program. Studies suggest that exercise helps aid in the recovery process, reduces symptoms of withdrawal, and enhances sobriety.
At AToN Centers, we have created an environment that promotes physical exercise and sobriety. We have onsite gyms, spinning bikes, tennis courts, a sand volley court, saline pools, spa, and a sauna with a 360-degree view. We know that physical health must be a priority for those want to enjoy continuous sobriety.
Why Is Physical Fitness So Important to Sobriety?
As an addiction treatment center in California, many of the clients who come to see us already have a firm grasp on the importance of exercise. After all, Californians are known for embracing a strong fitness culture, where thin is in and eating healthy is a religion in its own right.
However; we see clients from all over the country. Many of them are not so keen on the idea of working up a sweat. Even some of the California locals who come to us for residential treatment shy away from the gym. Plus, when someone is in the addictive cycle of a substance use disorder, exercise is usually the last thing on their mind. It can take some time to get back into the habit of working out regularly.
When it comes to recovery, exercise might seem unrelated to abstaining from drugs and alcohol. BUT, we encourage every recovering person to learn more about the relationship between sobriety and physical fitness. No matter where you come from, or what your fitness level is, we believe physical fitness should be incorporated into your sobriety.
Why Is Physical Fitness So Important to Sobriety?
Addiction affects the mind, body, and spirit. Many people address the mental and spiritual aspects of the recovery process with addiction treatment, but completely neglect the physical aspect. This is a critical mistake.
We recognize the importance of physical fitness and sobriety. We encourage our clients to tend to their physical health during their stay at AToN Centers. We also urge them to continue on with regular exercise after they leave our San Diego addiction treatment program.
Here are just a few of the ways physical fitness aids the recovery process:
Exercise helps with depression. Depression is a common theme among those who are in recovery from substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol completely interrupt the brain’s neurobiology and lead to a reduction in the production of the brain’s natural feel-good chemicals (like dopamine and serotonin, for example). Walking, running, biking, and swimming are great ways to rev up the release of serotonin and dopamine to help combat depression.
Exercise also helps ease anxiety. Anxiety is a common symptom of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). This is not only very uncomfortable, it disrupts healthy sleep and can lead to a loss of productivity. For many, having anxiety makes it difficult to carry out even the most basic tasks. Engaging in the practice of physical fitness activities helps to reduce anxiety.
Physical fitness makes you feel good about yourself. When you work out, you feel better about yourself. You just do. And, when you feel better about yourself, you are more likely to take better care of yourself. When you are focused on taking better care of yourself, you know that staying sober is essential to self-care. This allows you to enjoy and appreciate your sobriety on a deeper level.
You can join a community of health-conscious people. Believe it or not, there are tons of recovery-oriented work out communities out there like The Phoenix (which is free). When you join sober workout groups, you engage with other people who are living a sober lifestyle while getting your exercise on.
Exercise is a great stress reliever. Stress is a trigger for most people in recovery. After years of abusing drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with stress, many people find that they need some kind of healthy outlet if they want to stay sober. Physical fitness is a great way to relax and let off some steam.
Physical activity helps with relapse prevention. We believe regular exercise should be part of any relapse prevention plan. While engaging in rigorous exercise may be difficult at first, it is very beneficial in the long run. This is a positive investment of time and energy – an investment that pays off with better physical health and long-term sobriety. Evidence suggests that those who focus on physical fitness and sobriety are less likely to relapse than those who don’t.
It’s Simple, Really – Just Get Your Body Moving
Many people overthink exercise. They think they need to join an expensive gym, buy a bunch of gear, or invest in costly exercise equipment. Others feel insecure about their body and don’t want to be seen working out in public. There are hundreds of “reasons” (more like excuses!) as to why you may not want to work out. DO IT ANYWAY!
Get your body moving. Find some form of exercise that you enjoy and just do it. Go walking. Take a swim. Go to a yoga class. Rollerblading. Hiking. Cycling. Zumba. Salsa dancing. There are so many fun (and free!) ways to enjoy physical fitness in sobriety. So, get that heart rate up and get those endorphins working!
Want to learn more about the benefits of sobriety and physical fitness? Check out this article.