How Exercise Helps With Drug and Alcohol Recovery

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Exercise is a great way to support your recovery. It reduces depression, anxiety, and stress. Exercise promotes the production of endorphins, which are responsible for feelings of euphoria.

Exercise can also help you to better manage your cravings. There are numerous benefits of exercising as part of your drug or alcohol addiction recovery, here are some of the ways it helps.

Six Ways Exercise Improves Drug and Alcohol Recovery

Here are six ways exercise can dramatically improve your drug and alcohol recovery efforts…

1. Exercise Improves Your Mental Health

It reduces depression, anxiety, and stress which are linked to alcohol and drug consumption. Exercise can help you feel better about yourself which can help as you overcome addiction. When you go to an addiction treatment center, one of the things they often do is offer opportunities for you to exercise. Whether it’s taking walks, going for a swim, or learning to move your body better, exercise is there to help you overcome addiction by improving your mental health.

2. Exercise Improves Connection

You will feel more connected to your body, which can make it easier for you to manage cravings. This connection to your body is something that is important for addicts. When they use drugs or alcohol many of them experience feelings of euphoria that help them feel disconnected. This disjointedness is not natural or normal and can make it more difficult to overcome addictions.

By exercising, drug and alcohol addicts can start to reconnect to their bodies in meaningful ways. The first step in learning how to feel more connected to your body is getting in touch with it. You can start by paying attention to the sensation of gravity on your feet as you walk or noticing how your body feels when you’re sitting or standing at rest. You might also want to keep a journal where you write down what your body is feeling at different points during the day.

Plus, exercise also helps build community and engage in healthy social activities. This is especially important for recovering addicts who may have negative relationships with others from their past drug use or addiction.

3. Exercise Produces Happy Hormones

Exercise promotes the production of endorphins, which are responsible for feelings of euphoria. Endorphins are chemicals that act as neurotransmitters in the brain. They help control pain, as well as reduce stress and promote feelings of euphoria. When you exercise, endorphins are released and travel through your bloodstream to the brain. This causes a positive feeling that is physically similar to being high on alcohol or drugs. You may experience a sense of calm or happiness when you exercise, which can help motivate you to continue exercising over time.

4. Exercise Can Reduce Cravings

Another way that exercise helps with drug and alcohol recovery is that it can help you to better manage your cravings. When a craving hits, it can be intense. By turning to exercise instead of drugs, alcohol, or even food, you can learn to retrain your brain and your body.

If you’re trying to quit, exercise can help you keep your mind off cravings. It can also help distract you from the mental activities that trigger your addiction—the things that make you want to use drugs or alcohol. If you’re thinking about using and then start doing something else, like taking a walk outside or going for a jog around the block, it will be more difficult for those thoughts to return.

5. Exercise With Others Helps You Build Community

Working out in groups is a great way to build community and engage in healthy social activities, which can be valuable in recovery. You may find that it’s easier to stick with a workout routine if you are doing it with others. For instance, this could mean joining a gym or class where you get to interact with people. Or maybe your friend has been nagging you about going on hikes together for months. This is a great way to do healthy activities that will help in your drug or alcohol recovery.

Find an activity that sounds fun and exciting but is still challenging enough for you. Join an organized team sport like soccer or volleyball or start one yourself.

6. Exercise Can Help You Sleep Better

Exercise can also help you sleep better. In one study, researchers found that exercise helped reduce insomnia by improving the quality of your sleep. Getting enough sleep also helps reduce stress and anxiety, which are both major factors that can cause a relapse in recovering drug addicts or alcoholics.


Exercise is a great way to support your drug and alcohol recovery efforts. Besides helping you to improve mental clarity and overall health, exercise can connect you to others for necessary support. There are so many benefits to cover.

Joining a group fitness class or tackling the journey together with another personal struggling with addiction, can do wonders for your recovery efforts. A gym buddy on a similar path is great benefit since you can motivate and hold each other accountable.

All in all, there are no limits to the benefits of exercise when it comes to addiction and recovery. For many, the fit journey often soon replaces the destructive journey that first took hold of their life. If you’re ready to take things to the next level, get moving!

About Theresa Duncan

Originally from Detroit, MI, Theresa has been offering health and fitness advice for the last 30 years while working as an engineer. She decided to turn her passion into a profession, and finds nothing more satisfying than helping others reach their health and fitness goals.

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