Have you completed an inpatient or outpatient program for your drug addiction? Or are you currently in a treatment facility? Either way, it may seem like you have a long road ahead of you. Perhaps you feel anxious, more sensitive to pain, or even depressed. It’s actually quite common for those recovering from a drug addiction to experience these feelings.
Why Should I Exercise?
Not only does exercising have positive benefits for maintaining a healthier lifestyle, but it can also help you recover from a drug addiction. Our brains naturally produce endorphins which are a type of neurotransmitter. Our neurotransmitters (such as endorphins) are the body’s natural response to pain and help elevate our mood. If you have abused drugs such as opiates, this introduces a flood of endorphins in your brain which makes you “feel good”. Your body is also flooded with other neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.
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Over time, the flood of synthetic endorphins override your body’s natural process of makings its own endorphins. In other words, your body becomes so used to the extra amount of endorphins that it decreases its natural endorphin production. Your brain loses its ability to release and replenish its own endorphin supply.
When a person enters a rehab facility for their drug addiction, they will have natural withdrawal symptoms from the drug (including depression and anxiety). The patient’s body is now free of the drug at rehab, but their brains have lower levels of neurotransmitters (endorphins). Endorphin levels are lower after your addiction because the source of the endorphins is now gone. Patients recovering from a drug addiction will have lower endorphin levels than a healthy individual that never abused drugs. This is why you may be feeling negative emotions such as depression.
Exercising is just one way to naturally elevate your body’s endorphin levels. The sense of well-being and feelings of calm after a workout is what people refer to as a “runner’s high”. Some cardiovascular exercises you can try to increase natural endorphin levels are: walking, swimming, biking, or running/jogging.
Eating Right, Exercising, Music, And Your Recovery
Having a healthy diet is also important to your recovery. Eating the right foods will help boost your energy. Increased energy means you will be able to get more out of your exercising routines. Not only does exercising increase your endorphin levels, it also will elevate your mood, help reduce depression symptoms, reduce stress, and help you gain more self-confidence.
If you do not like to exercise, do not think of exercising as a negative thing. You don’t have to become the next Olympian to naturally increase your endorphin levels. If your version of exercising mirrors Rocky, then more power to you. But, if you are more low-key, that is okay too. The point is that you should get out there, do some form of physical activity, and do it often. You have made a positive choice to end your addiction. Why not make more positive choices such as exercising?
Think of the activity as something you will enjoy and not as a bore. If you have a dog, take a nice walk through the park. Try to get a family member or friend involved with you to try a new activity such as kayaking. Or perhaps you want to give back to your community. There are many charity walks or runs that you can participate in throughout the year.
Another great and natural way to increase endorphin levels is through music. Music can create a “natural high”. Fall is just around the corner. Why not attend a local high school or college football game and listen to the marching band? Listen to your favorite tunes while exercising can help motivate you and also increase your endorphin levels.
If you know how to play an instrument (and enjoy it), why not play it for an hour each day? All of these activities will help elevate your mood. And, yes, practicing an instrument can also “count” as exercise because it does help burn calories. You don’t have to play in a marching band to burn calories. Even sitting for an hour playing drums or guitar can burn calories. Whatever motivates you to exercise, do it.
Contact Us For More Information
If you still need more information, contact us at Vertava Health. We can help answer any questions you may have. Remember to consult with a doctor before engaging in any physical (especially strenuous) activity. Naturally increasing the body’s endorphins after an addiction will help you live a happier and healthier life.
If you are in need of any assistance regarding your addiction or the addiction of a loved one, contact us today at Vertava Health.