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The benefits of exercise in recovering from addiction

How important is it for someone in treatment for an addiction to exercise regularly?  How about post-treatment?

These are great questions.  Whether you are suffering from an addiction yourself or trying to help a family member or loved one recover from an addiction.

Just as a regular fitness program can help you to improve your overall quality of life, regular exercise is important for someone fighting to overcome an addiction.  The benefits of a well structured fitness program when recovering from an addiction are many; such as improved cardiovascular health, better strength and balance, improved sense of well being, maintaining healthy body weight and better self-esteem.

Unfortunately, many who suffer from addiction miss these benefits. Many suffer from depression and are prescribed with medication.

A regular cardiovascular exercise routine (a minimum of four times per week) plus abstinence, can provide a natural, effective alleviation of depression.

Recovering from an addiction requires a comprehensive approach to physical, psychological, social and spiritual well-being.  For example at Bellwood, we ensure our clients follow a well structured fitness program together with their daily schedule of lectures, group therapy, one-on-one counseling, relaxation, meditation, meals and snacks.  Our group fitness classes include options of circuit training and yoga.  Many clients also choose to attend additional independent sessions in the weight room, which include strength training and cardio.

Clients frequently tell us how much better they feel physically and mentally after a few weeks of exercise.

Exercise and fitness while in treatment is only the first step in a life of recovery.  Maintaining a health physical fitness program post-treatment is equally important to maintain sobriety.

In second last week of treatment, our clients are guided through a realistic fitness plan, health plan and a detailed weekly schedule for the week after they graduate.  This schedule includes their detailed exercise routine, with specifics about what type and where they will do it.  A backup plan for a missed exercise session is also discussed with the clients.

Many of our clients tell us that they continue with much or all of the exercise that they started many years after completing treatment.  Almost all of our clients who relapse and return for treatment share that they did not continue with their regular exercise routine after they left Bellwood.

Exercise is definitely an important part of moving into recovery from addiction as well as staying healthy!

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