3 Ways Exercise Helps With Addiction Recovery

man running by a lake

Battling addiction can be a challenge for just about anyone. After all, it is a struggle against your basal instincts. If you are considering rehab to rid yourself of drug addiction, you should know the benefits that exercise can provide during your treatment.

Let’s look at why exercise is such a powerful tool during addiction recovery.

1. Restoring your body

Prolonged drug addiction and abuse can take a toll on the body. Stimulants, such as cocaine, are known to suppress appetite and cause users to lose an unhealthy amount of weight. On the opposite end of the spectrum, alcohol abuse often causes alcoholics to gain weight and develop unhealthy fat deposits around their bodies.

Neither of these situations is particularly good for your health. Recovering from addiction can help heal your mind, but it alone won’t be able to restore your health to what it used to be.

Medical professionals at the best drug rehab clinics understand that exercise and addiction recovery go hand-in-hand. This is why they often encourage their patients to start following an exercise routine during the course of their recovery.

2. Adding a healthy activity to your life

People who are struggling with addiction are also prone to many unhealthy activities, such as eating junk food or hurting themselves. These behaviors only add to the physical and mental trauma of addiction, so they should be replaced with healthier ones.

Exercise provides a much needed healthy activity to your life. Following an exercise routine can help addicts get used to performing activities that are productive, instead of ones that are wasteful and indulgent.

Going for a walk or a jog gives you a chance to see the outdoors and get some fresh air. Similarly, cycling gets your heart pumping and expands your lungs. If nothing else, an hour spent exercising is an hour where you aren’t engaging in self-destructive behavior.

For this reason, you should take up any form of exercise when you are starting drug rehab. Even less-intense exercises, such as yoga, walking, or taking a dip in the pool can be beneficial when you are starting drug rehab. Arizona is home to many rehab clinics that feature exercise rooms for recovering patients to use.

3. Providing a sense of accomplishment

Perhaps, the best benefit of exercising during recovery is the sense of accomplishment it provides. Going through rehab can be very hard if you were addicted to certain drugs that cause severe withdrawal symptoms.

This withdrawal phase can last for weeks in some cases. During this period, recovering addicts may start to feel incredibly low and lethargic. It’s not uncommon for addicts to believe they aren’t getting any better, even when their progress has been good so far.

Patients who exercise during their recovery can give themselves different physical goals to achieve. These tasks could be relatively simple and easy to perform, but completing them still provides a sense of accomplishment.

Over time, recovering patients can start adding more challenging goals to their exercise routines. With the right perseverance and determination, they may be able to accomplish physical goals they never thought they were capable of. This can provide them with the confidence needed to weather through their rehab program.

Now that we’ve looked at the various benefits of exercising during drug rehab, let’s look at some common exercises you can perform during your treatment.

Exercises to perform in rehab

There are many different types of exercises you can perform during your treatment. If your rehab clinic allows you to leave the facility, you will have an unlimited number of options available to you.

If you’d prefer to stay within the facility throughout your treatment, you can try these exercise methods.


Yoga is an effective form of exercise that offers a physical workout and mental relaxation. It can also teach you how to practice mindfulness. This technique helps you focus on living in the present moment and becoming aware of your surroundings, which can be an incredibly useful tool during addiction recovery.

Yoga can be performed just about anywhere, which makes it a great activity for people staying at rehab centers.


Dancing is another activity that can feel rejuvenating for rehab patients. There’s nothing quite like the liberation that comes from standing up and dancing along to your favorite music.

In addition to helping you de-stress, dancing can also help restore the connection between the body and the mind. Moving your body rhythmically allows you to express yourself through physical movements instead of through verbal expressions. This enables patients to share their feelings that are otherwise difficult to articulate verbally.


Swimming is a great exercise that works out your whole body. It is an intense activity that helps you feel alive and engaged. Swimming can be especially useful for rehab patients who suffer from muscle and joint problems because it does not put direct stress on these areas.

However, not every rehab clinic is going to have a pool, so you may have to try other exercise options.

Can you get addicted to exercise?

As we’ve seen, exercising offers many physical and mental health benefits for rehab patients during their recovery. However, it is possible to get addicted to exercise too. Some addicts going through recovery may use exercise as a substitute for their compulsive behaviors.

After all, exercising does release brain chemicals that feel pleasurable. Due to this reason, rehab patients should exercise only under the supervision of a medical professional when they are undergoing drug rehab. Scottsdale has many rehab centers that deal with all forms of addiction.