Many professional alcohol and drug treatment and rehabilitation programs include exercise as part of an overall program to help patients maintain abstinence and develop healthier lifestyles. Many inpatient treatment centers have fully equipped fitness facilities on-site.
Traditionally, the main reason exercise is recommended for those trying to quit alcohol and drugs has been because they focus on something other than their withdrawal symptoms or cravings. However, now there may be evidence that exercise has additional benefits for those looking to avoid drinking and using drugs.
Research shows that exercise can help
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has allocated $ 4 million to scientific research to investigate a possible role for physical activity in substance abuse and relapse prevention.
When announcing the funding, NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow two studies that have shown that exercise is an advantage. In one case, adolescents who exercise daily smoked cigarettes half as often as sedentary colleagues, and 40% fewer experimented with marijuana.
In another study, women who participated in a smoking cessation program doubled their chances of quitting smoking by adding more exercise to their routine three days a week, compared to women in the study who didn’t exercise. They also had less weight gain.
Everyone can benefit from it
If exercise can help people in inpatient treatment facilities and subjects in scientific studies, it can benefit anyone trying to quit drinking and drug use, or trying to become abstinent.
Exercise is something that everyone has access to. You don’t have to become a world class athlete to enjoy the benefits of exercise as part of your recovery. You don’t have to go to a professional gym, hire a personal trainer, or buy expensive equipment, although these options can also be beneficial. Exercise is something you can do yourself.
Before you start
Not everyone is healthy enough to jump right into a full-fledged exercise program.
If you have not exercised recently and have been sedentary for more than a year, see your doctor and get examined before embarking on an exercise program.
If you have medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure, it is important to check with your doctor before starting any exercise. If you’re pregnant, have chronic back or neck pain, or are recovering from an injury, see your doctor first.
Sometimes the hardest part of training is getting started. Longtime Verywell.com exercise expert Paige Waehner has some great tips on how to get motivated to exercise. She also points out how you can benefit from low impact exercises, especially if you are a beginner.
- Be motivated to exercise
- A good workout with low impact exercise
- Exercise for beginners
Go for your health
Walking is a form of exercise that almost anyone can do that can have significant benefits – not only for cardiovascular health, but weight loss as well. Verywell.com walking expert Wendy Bumgardner has tips for beginners looking to exercise and warns of mistakes to avoid.
- How to go for absolute beginners
- 10 mistakes to avoid
- Are 15 Minute Walks Good?
Jogging and running
If walking isn’t enough to keep your interest running, running or jogging is another option that you can do without a lot of expensive equipment or membership. Running and jogging guide Christine Luff has an eight-week plan to get started and some tips to avoid pain and injury.
- Getting started with running
- Warm up and cool down
- How to prevent running injuries
Inexpensive exercise options
You can also participate in other forms of cheaper but more effective exercise. The Verywell.com websites below provide the information you need to get started with these useful physical activities.
- Strength training