5 Ways Fitness Helps Those in Recovery from Alcohol Addiction
Breaking an addition to alcohol will likely be the hardest thing that a person will ever do. The simple truth is that there is no easy way to break an addition. Though the process will be difficult, there are some things that a person can do to make the stress and general discomfort of withdrawal more bearable. Focusing on personal fitness is one of the things that a person can do to help beat alcohol addiction. There are many ways that working out and improving overall fitness can help ease the process of breaking an alcohol addiction.
1. Burning Energy
Alcohol withdrawal is a difficult process that many alcoholics must endure. The good news is that withdrawal symptoms can be reduced by exercise. Depending on the severity of the withdrawal symptoms, an addict may not be able to be very physically active. However, even going for a short walk is enough to burn off some energy and that can be enough to help reduce withdrawal symptoms. As an addict’s withdrawal symptoms start to lessen, and his or her fitness level begins to improve, the exercise can become more strenuous. Another positive effect of burning excess energy is that it will help a person sleep. Many people struggle to sleep in withdrawal as their cravings make it difficult to relax and clear the mind. However, after a good workout, many people are able to sleep as their body is physically exhausted.
2. Improving Physical Health
Alcohol addiction is rough on the body. Most addicts eat poorly, get little to no exercise, have unhealthy sleep habits and frequently expose their bodies to germs and diseases. By working out, an addict can begin to build their fitness level. An improved level of fitness will help the body to repair the damage that addiction has caused. Working out boosts the cardiovascular system and increases blood flow through the body which helps distribute oxygen throughout the body. Oxygen is important for all cells of the body to produce energy and repair damage.
3. Fighting Depression
Exercise does more than just boost physical health, it can also improve mental health. Many addicts suffer from depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders that may have contributed to the addiction or may have been caused by the addiction. Exercise causes the brain to release endorphins, which are often referred to as the ‘feel good hormones’ because of the euphoric mood they can produce. Anxiety and nervousness, which are common for people experiencing withdrawal, are also lessened by exercise. The loss of fat and increase in muscle that is common with improved fitness levels can also boost a person’s self-esteem, further reducing the likelihood of mental health disorders.
4. New Social Circle
Addiction is more than just the interaction between an individual and alcohol. Addiction is a lifestyle that requires a lot of significant life changes to overcome. One way that fitness can help treat addiction is by helping an addict to meet a new group of friends. Whether it is walking in the neighborhood or joining a local gym, most fitness activities will result in a person meeting people that he or she might not meet otherwise. A person who begins making friends through fitness will be building a social circle of alcohol-free friends that can that can be a positive influence on his or her life.
5. Redirecting Energy
Addiction can be an all-consuming behavior. A person who is fighting addiction will face many difficult moments resisting the urge to not give in to the cravings of addiction. One way to deal with cravings is through redirection. Instead of focusing on the alcohol, the addict needs to redirect his or her mind to another task. Fitness can be this distraction. A person who is struggling to make good choices can go for a run, hit the gym, play basketball or a wide range of activities that require mental focus and physical action. In addition to fighting alcohol cravings, fitness activities can be a beneficial habit by providing an escape from the stresses of everyday life.
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