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What are the effects of exercise on recovery and rehab?

For any individual undergoing recovery or rehab, early gains are the most important thing. Early improvements in mood sleep patterns and stress management can help the person gain confidence in the rehab process and their own ability to complete the process successfully to overcome their addiction. In addition to the regular medical aspects of the program such as liver cleanse or therapy sessions, exercise also plays a major role in improving the outcomes of the rehab program. It is important to understand how exercise contributes to the effectiveness of the drug recovery process. In this article, five specific benefits of exercise are discussed with reference to such programs. 

1. Stability in mood patterns

Mood patterns become fairly irregular during the rehabilitation process. This may be due to a variety of reasons such as withdrawal symptoms and the effects of the rehabilitation process. The mood changes can be fairly dramatic with the person experiencing peaks of positive feelings followed by feelings of depression. This can be a disturbing experience and can interfere with the recovery process. Thankfully, exercising for only 30 minutes a day can be an effective mood regulator and can help to create a stable mood. This leads to clearer thinking and greater self-awareness in the person.

higher energy levels
new research shows that regular, low-intensity exercise may help boost energy levels in people suffering from fatigue

2. Healthier sleep patterns

Sleep disturbances are common when someone is undergoing drug rehab. This is because sustained drug use causes the body to remain in a state of high alert, which leads to insomnia and other sleep problems. At times, people experience stress when following a rehab program which also disturbs their sleep patterns. People undergoing a rehab program can improve their sleep patterns by joining a regular exercise program. It can solve the problem of irregular sleep by promoting sound sleep and regular waking hours. Exercise particularly causes the body to cool down at a rapid pace, which stimulates the onset of sleep.

3. Releasing stress

One of the main reasons people consume drugs or relapse into it after completing rehab is that it is a quick way to release stress. This is an unhealthy habit because drug abuse leads to dependency and addiction in the long run. However, exercise can serve the same purpose even though with some effort. Exercise raises the heart rate, which increases oxygen intake by the brain, thus reducing stress levels across the body. Moreover, it is also known that exercise adds strain on the muscles which stimulates the release of stress-busting hormones into the blood, which again help to reduce stress.  

4. Higher energy levels

One of the main goals of a drug rehab program is to promote people’s return to a normal, healthy and active lifestyle. Unfortunately, long periods of drug abuse damage the physiological systems of the body that create energy for the individual to do everyday activities. When exercise is incorporated into a rehab program, it strengthens the muscles to overcome the loss of strength and vitality in the body. As a result, the body becomes more energetic which makes it easy for the person to reintegrate into their normal lifestyle and take part in a normal household and personal care activities. 

strong willed person and exercise
Willpower: someone strongwilled doesn’t give up easily. A strongwilled person is determined.

5. Increasing willpower 

Regular exercise helps to increase the person’s willpower to resist the urge to consume drugs. Developing willpower is an integral part of any drug rehab program through which the individual overcomes addiction, which is why exercise should be a part of such programs. Not only does exercise improve physical strength, but it also develops mental and psychological strength while developing self-confidence and positive self-esteem. As a result, the person develops a greater sense of personal agency in overcoming the urge to relapse and find more productive ways to deal with stress and other problems.  

As can be seen from the above discussion, exercise should be one of the most important parts of a successful drug rehab program. Not only does it produce visible effects in the individual, but these effects can also be observed from the first day itself. This increases the person’s commitment to the process and reduces the chances of quitting or relapse. Making different levels of exercise or physical training a part of the recovery process is a smart investment in long-term recovery and health of the individual.