Is it important for people in addiction treatment to be exercising regularly? How about post-treatment?
These are great questions for anyone suffering from an addiction or anyone helping people recover from addictions. Just as a regular fitness program can help almost anyone to improve their overall quality of life, this is even truer for addicts. Many suffer from depression and are prescribed medication. A regular cardiovascular exercise routine (about four times per week), plus abstinence from drugs and/or alcohol, can provide natural, effective relief from depression. Research clearly shows that exercise helps your body, whether you’re in recovery or not. Improved long term fitness helps with cardio-vascular health and diabetes, lowers the risk of some types of cancers, stimulates the immune system, and can even help alleviate depression symptoms.
Recovering addicts live in our treatment centre for approximately 6 to 9 weeks. They follow a daily schedule of exercise, lectures, and group therapy and counseling sessions. Group fitness classes are a mandatory part of our program. We offer a variety of classes, including Yoga, Chi Kung and Circuit Training. Many clients also attend an instructional session in the weight room; they are encouraged to follow training sessions in their free time. Our clients frequently provide feedback about the physical and mental improvements they experience after a few weeks of regular exercise. They also notice that they sleep better.
Many of our clients return for AA meetings or aftercare months and years after graduation. Many of them share about how their ongoing fitness routine is helping them to stay sober. Most clients who return for additional treatment (following relapse),admit that they did not continue with their regular exercise routine after they left Bellwood. These findings suggest that exercise is definitely an important part of recovery from addiction. Physical activities are also an important part of healthy leisure and they can enhance social well-being. We provide indoor and outdoor games like Volleyball, Ping-Pong, Bocce ball, Ladder ball and Croquet to encourage movement and social interaction.