How Fitness Can Help You Get Sober
When it comes to physical health, exercise is one of the most proven methods for reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass. Along with physical health, exercise can also go a long way toward improving your mental state-of-mind and reduce problems related to depression, anxiety, and more.
These two benefits will improve your overall well-being, but fitness can also be an important aspect of another part of your life: sobriety.
If you are serious about your health, getting sober is a great next step. Drugs and alcohol can be major hinderances to living a healthy life. Not only can they lead to dangerous symptoms, they can take up a significant amount of time making you less production and are detrimental to you physically and mentally when used in excess.
Alcohol in Healthy Lifestyles
While using illicit drugs may be out of the question for some, most people drink alcohol at least semi-regularly. Reducing alcohol intake or putting the bottle down altogether will do wonders for your overall health.
Alcohol affects nearly every organ in the body negatively, it can cause heart damage, liver cirrhosis, and increase risk of multiple cancers. These long-term health effects associated with alcohol use don’t even touch on the potential short-term problems like increased risk of depression, increased risk-taking behaviors, and a weakened immune system.
Any way you look at it, alcohol is a drug that has disastrous consequences on your mind and body. Despite these problems, it can sometimes be hard to stop drinking. Alcohol can be a fun thing to do with friends and in other various social situations – this is where exercise can come into play.
Instead of using alcohol as an excuse to meet up with friends, you can invite them to exercise and go to the gym with you. Working out together has been shown to enforce a strong sense of community while also boosting endorphins. Because of this, exercise is being used in addiction treatment centers as a viable complementary treatment due to the role it plays in helping people maintain their sobriety.
Reduce Cravings with Exercise
Oftentimes when people stop using substances, including alcohol, they will experience urges to use for a few days or weeks following their succession. When these cravings to use come up they can be overwhelming, even debilitating, for a few moments; however, they do pass. Being able to offset these cravings with exercise can help get your mind off these substances and allow you to continue on your new healthy path.
One way to overcome these cravings is through exercise. Going on a walk or jog when you feel it coming up will distract you from these feelings. Not only is exercise an effective distraction from cravings, but it also releases endorphins and can make you feel better – which usually happens when drinking as well. Also, you are effectively replacing your unhealthy habits with healthy ones – further improving your physical health.
Exercise as a Coping Mechanism
Many people will use alcohol or drugs as coping mechanisms to help them deal with personal or professional struggles they are going through day-to-day. While it may help individuals relieve, or just forget about, these problems in the short term, this fix is only temporary, and it may even exacerbate the problem in the long run.
Meanwhile, exercise can be used as a positive coping mechanism. Exercise in any form can act as a stress reliever and provide a distraction from day-to-day worries. Moreover, exercise can help increase feel-good neurotransmitters in the body, improve mood, and act as a form of meditation for people struggling from increased stress problems.
Exercise for Mental Health
Along with reduce cravings and helping overcome day-to-day stress, exercise has been shown to help improve mental health disorders which is a major problem for people dealing with substance abuse problems – especially depressive symptoms and anxiety. People using alcohol or drugs to fault often have underlying mental health disorders that may contribute to or act as the catalyst to these drug-seeking behaviors.
However, exercise has shown to help ease these anxiety and depressive problems – effectively helping reduce the grasp alcohol or drugs have on a person. Solving the underlying issues helps people stop seeking out substances as a way to cope and confront the root cause of the problem instead.
Exercise in Addiction Treatment
Exercise as an addiction treatment is gaining more traction as a viable treatment option. Rehab centers across the globe are recognizing the long-term benefits that exercise can have for people who are trying to remain abstinent from drugs and alcohol and are establishing fitness as part of their in-house curriculum.
Even for people who don’t have addiction problems, but want to reduce/stop drinking altogether, exercise remains a reliable and effective method for increasing physical or mental health and improved overall well-being.