From helping people lose weight to managing daily stressors, there doesn’t seem to be an end to the benefits exercise can provide. But can it be useful for someone like your spouse, sibling, parent or child who is struggling with addiction?
Your loved one probably didn’t mean to fall into a toxic cycle of addiction. But now that they have, you want to find a way to help – especially since the coronavirus (COVID-19) has your loved one more isolated than before.
So, what if getting regular exercise could help your loved one overcome their addiction? Let’s take an in-depth look at how exercise can aid someone trying to break free from substance abuse.
How Exercise Can Aid Addiction Treatment and Recovery
It’s a Healthier Way to Cope
In the wake of COVID-19, movie theaters, concerts, sporting events and other activities have been shut down until further notice. For your loved one suffering from addiction, having more limited options for going out could cause a spike in substance abuse. But that’s where exercise can come in to help.
When your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, their brain is craving the endorphins those substances release. However, regular exercise can cause a very similar effect in the brain. For example, people who run regularly often experience a “runner’s high”.
Exercise Helps to Address Underlying Stress and Anxiety
It’s possible that your loved one’s addiction started as a way to cope with the stress and anxiety of their life. The good news is that regular exercise can help your loved one cope with stressors in a healthy way. In fact, according to a recent study, exercise can:
- Help those struggling with addiction have a more positive outlook on life
- Reduce cravings and substance abuse
- Give the brain an opportunity to heal cells damaged by substance abuse
- Promote healthy sleep patterns
- Offer your loved one more structure and routine, which is a proven method in addiction recovery
Helping Your Loved One Find Motivation to Exercise
Now that you know that physical wellness can help your loved one overcome addiction, how can you help them get into this healthy habit? Drugs or alcohol are probably a higher priority in their mind. Plus, COVID-19 might make your loved one nervous about going to the gym. Here are three ways you can help get your loved one to start excising.
1. Remind Them that They’re Not Alone
It’s important to remind your loved one that they’re not the only one who struggles to exercise. People of all walks of life find it challenging to exercise at times. You can even encourage them to join an online addiction forum like In The Rooms to talk about any motivation problems.
2. Offer to Exercise with Them
Sometimes it’s easier to feel more motivated to exercise when you have company. Talk to your loved one about exercising and offer to go with them. After every workout, your loved one will feel a sense of accomplishment that happened without drugs or alcohol.
3. Start with a Walk or a Hike
Your loved one doesn’t have to do exhausting weightlifting when they start exercising. Going for a walk or hike is the perfect starting point. It’s low risk during COVID-19 and gives them some fresh air. Plus, studies show that a 15-minute walk can help reduce cravings for drugs and alcohol.
Give Your Loved One Hope for Lasting Recovery
While exercise can help people suffering from addiction, your loved one might need more personalized support. Silver Maple Recovery is a premier addiction treatment center in Cleveland, Ohio. Our evidence-based approach to treatment is combined with individualized care plans to help your loved one heal.
We understand that every addiction is different. That’s why we will take the time to hear your loved one’s story and help them address the underlying causes of their addiction. Your loved one has the potential to take back everything addiction has stolen from them.
If your loved one needs help, we’re ready to listen to your story. Contact us today and get in touch with one of our professional caregivers. They can talk with you about getting your loved one on the path towards lasting recovery.