Our counselors and therapists encourage patients to get and/or stay active during their treatment. Not only does exercise aid the body in drug and alcohol detoxification; it also relieves stress and anxiety, improves sleep and can ease depression. We provide daily opportunities for our in-patient residents to exercise, either through cardiovascular activities, weight training and/or yoga.
Our treatment programs for alcohol and drug rehabilitation in San Diego start with helping the body get rid of toxins. The physical aspect is the most superficial and the most notable level of addiction. Healing the body at APEX Rehab includes appropriate medication, nutrition and an exercise regimen. Why? Exercise is said to be one of the pillars of health. When people are abusing alcohol and drugs, they generally ignore their health and the state of their body. Exercising helps them restore the physical well-being.
Recreation is also important for the brain physiology. Addiction alters the natural production of chemicals in the brain and disrupts the mechanisms for producing hormones and neurotransmitters that make us feel calm or happy. When we exercise, the brain is again encouraged to produce endorphin, which is a “feel good” chemical. At the same time, it lowers the production of cortisol and adrenaline, which are stress hormones. This is the way exercise fights off anxiety, depression and sleep disorders.
There is a host of other, indirect benefits to exercising during addiction recovery.
Exercising can fill up the patient’s free time. Once individuals are out of rehab and back to their lives, every day is a battle to stick to sobriety. They need all the help they can get – counseling, psychotherapy, alternative therapies, meditation and exercise. If they have something positive and constructive to do and occupy themselves with, recovering addicts will stay better focused on their recovery. With a well-structured day, they will have less opportunity to dwell on negative thoughts and emotions.
Exercising is also called “meditation in motion” by the Mayo clinic. It’s impossible to keep negative thinking at bay all the time, but it’s best to engage our mind with thoughts when we are exercising. Negativity is naturally released through our activity – at the end of the practice not only do we leave the disturbing thoughts behind, but we are filled with the natural high from endorphin.
Exercise gives the individual opportunities to reconnect with their body and listen to its signals. On the other hand, it is also a chance to socialize. Isolation is an enemy of recovery and drastically reduces the chances of success.
Even though exercise is highly conducive to addiction recovery, it’s important to have a professional who can guide and monitor the patient’s exercise regimen. A qualified and trained professional can assess what plan would suit the patient’s level of fitness and health state and also provide the right amount of challenge. There is a risk of overtraining when former addicts start exercising, because they can become overly enthusiastic. This can result in injuries or them running out of steam – neither of which is desirable. A professional will also monitor the patient’s progress, because the true benefits of recreation can only be reaped through regular commitment.
Physical Fitness Therapy