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Why is Exercise an Effective Treatment in Alcohol Rehab?

Woman lifting weights at the gym with her trainer's guidanceAlcohol addiction has been a major public health concern around the world for many years. Even with the wide variety of drug and substance abuse rehabilitation programs, some of which have demonstrated high success rates over the years, there is still no sure way of preventing relapse.  It is, therefore, essential that any treatment addresses the alcohol dependence and any related disorder, and at the same time set mechanisms in place that will prevent future relapse.

Why is Exercise an Effective Treatment in Alcohol Rehab?

Without a doubt, exercise is very beneficial to both the mind and body. Apart from aiding in eliminating toxic substances out of the body – through sweating, exercising helps you to sharpen your mind, relieve stress, maintain a healthy weight, strengthen your heart, and improve blood circulation.

Exercise plays a central role in helping patients to recover from alcohol addiction; it improves both the mental and physical wellbeing of a patient. For an alcohol and substance abuse recovery program to be effective, it must involve a 3-pronged therapeutic regimen: mental, spiritual, and physical.

Various clinical studies have demonstrated the importance of incorporating exercise in alcohol rehab programs. An example is the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, whereby rehabilitation programs incorporating exercise routines reported reduction in craving for drugs and alcohol use, and helped patients to enhance their quality of life. Other benefits of exercise alcohol rehab that were reported from observations from the same study include:

  1.  Physical Benefits of Exercise

  • Exercising enables you to lose weight and/or manage a healthy weight.
  • Weight and resistance training exercises help you to build/improve muscle strength.
  • Workouts are a good way to boost your energy levels.
  • When you exercise, you are able to get more restful sleep.
  • Exercising improves blood circulation.
  • It improves breathing for patients.
  • Exercising is essential for boosting the body’s immunity.
  • Regular exercise helps in reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease
  1.  Psychological Benefits of Exercising

  • Working out keeps you in great shape, thus, boosts your self-esteem.
  • It helps to improve your mood, making life in sobriety more satisfying and joyful.
  • Exercise keeps you occupied and thus, helps to reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Exercising is a healthy hobby that helps you to avoid staying idle.
  • Exercise helps to sharpen your mental skill. When you exercise, the levels of chemicals such norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin increase in the brain. These chemicals are believed to improve cognitive functioning of the brain. As such, the increased levels allow you to reason faster and make better decisions.
  • Working out helps you to develop the resilience to withstand the physical withdrawal symptoms caused by detoxification.

Generally, most patients are in poor physical shape before joining alcohol rehabilitation programs. The years of abuse and neglect leave many addicts physically unfit and unwilling to taking part in any kind of physical activity. As such, many exercise alcohol rehab programs are tailor-made to meet the needs of individual patients.

Exercising, in a way, has the same effect that alcohol, drugs and other addictive substances have on your body. As such, it is a key element in helping you recover from alcohol addiction and preventing relapses.