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Recreational Therapy

An often misunderstated component of recovery is exercise. Of course, no single workout can cure addiction, but there are benefits to regular exercise that can massively improve your chance at long-term recovery. Benefits of exercise include structure, enhanced health, reduced stress, increased self-esteem, and a preoccupation of the mind.

30 minutes of fitness time, along with extra free time later in the day, is provided for Landmark patients. We provide full access to our gym which contains multiple exercise machines including a treadmill and elliptical machine.

There are numerous physical and psychological benefits of regular exercise that have been proven in clinical trials. A few of the evidence-based studies that demonstrate the benefits of an effective exercise program for recovering addicts are:

  • A Danish study from 2010, 75% of participants reported that regular exercise with a trained specialist over six months significantly increased their mental and physical health, as well as reduced their cravings for drugs, with 25% remaining completely sober more than a year later.
  • According to Harvard scientists, regular exercise can improve the manner in which your brain protects itself and even enhances your cognitive abilities. For recovering addicts who have put their bodies through years of abuse, regular exercise can help repair some of the damage.
  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, regular exercise can reduce the body’s long-term response to stress and even increase your tolerance for stressful situations, a useful tool for combating cravings moving forward.
  • A study out of Vanderbilt University looked at college-age marijuana users who were asked to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week. Participants reported 50% fewer cravings for their drug of choice and also decreased their drug usage.

Benefits Of Exercise In Addiction Recovery

Providing Structure

An essential part of recovery is structure. Feeling out of control or feeling life is unmanageable are common reasons people turn to substances while struggling with addiction. A regularly scheduled exercise routine provides a sense of structure in a person's week. Fitness goals can provide extra motivation to stick to routines. Exercise is an effective way to help the body heal the damages caused by substance abuse.

Keeping the Body/Mind Occupied

Boredom is one of the hardest things for recovering addicts to face. Your mind starts to slip back into old ways of thinking like, "a drink would spice things up", or "I have nothing to do, so why not get high". Time spent getting and using drugs is now freed up for those fresh out of rehab. Activities like yoga, running, weightlifting, or participating in a sport, helps take a recovering addict's mind off thoughts of relapsing.

Produces Healthy Neurochemicals

Recovering addicts find working out can be addictive as well. They get addicted to feeling good, though there are positive results rather than negative ones. Recovering addicts are, more often than not, victims of depression or have a reduction in their ability to experience pleasure; this is known as anhedonia. Your body releases endorphins when you exercise, creating a natural high. Dedication to physical exercise will hurt at first, but the body heals and gradually introduces natural levels of endorphins.

Increases Self Image and Mood

Exercise can help reduce symptoms of long-term depression. Raised energy levels, increased oxygen capacity, a stronger body, and feel-good neurochemicals all come from exercise. UK studies have shown that people who exercise gain confidence and better self-esteem than those who don't. Regardless of whether they are meeting their fitness goals, just the act of exercising regularly increases confidence.

Get Better Sleep

Insomnia can be a common occurrence for addicts experiencing withdrawal or have gotten further down the road to recovery. It's natural for the body to struggle with falling back into a natural rhythm after they've stopped taking substances. To get back into a regular routine, exercise is valuable. Regular exercise improves quantity and quality of sleep, proven by a substantial amount of evidence.

Helps Combat Cravings

A natural part of recovery is urges that can hinder the sobriety progress and make you relapse. Getting rid of these urges is easier with exercise as it curbs and reduces them. Vanderbilt University took a look at drug users in college and asked them to run on a treadmill for a half-hour five days each week. The addicts reported a 50% decrease in cravings as well as their drug intake overall.

Helps You Maintain Physical Health/Weight

Severe weight loss/gain is a symptom of addiction. As such, recovering addicts might experience trouble fixing their diet to avoid relapsing. Higher self-esteem and body image are linked to a healthy body, which also allows for higher energy levels and a better immune system. Exercise is greatly beneficial for recovering addicts.

Reduce Stress

Reduced stress levels have been connected to a regulated level of cortisol and adrenaline in the body, both of which can be gained through exercise, according to Harvard scientists. These hormones are the cause of the human stress response. Regular exercise can reduce the body's overall long-term response to stress and increase a person's tolerance to stress, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Improves Your Memory

A toll on your mental health and memory can be caused by severe drug and alcohol abuse. Regular exercise can help improve how the brain protects and enhances cognitive abilities, according to Harvard scientists. Research has shown that regular, dedicated exercise can improve your brain function. There is a link between aerobic exercise and a boost in the hippocampus- the memory and learning region of the brain. Insulin resistance and inflammation in the brain can be reduced through exercises as well.

Learn More About Our Recreational Therapy Program in Indiana

At Landmark Recovery, we know there are many types of people who need treatment. Therefore, we treat a variety of addictions, including heroin addiction and alcohol abuse.

When combined with your primary treatment, recreational therapy can be a great way to help you heal from your addiction. To learn about our Carmel or Indianapolis recreational therapy programs, or to find out more about addiction treatment options available to you, contact Landmark Recovery of Indiana at 855-553-7487. We offer a wide range of therapies as a part of our recreational therapy program. Treatment is within reach at Landmark Recovery.