Those who have suffered from a drug or substance abuse addiction know the all-too-familiar void that you can feel. Addiction itself is selfish, robbing you of your ability to feel the same level of happiness. It’s numbing—mentally and physically.

A common remedy suggested by researchers, in addition to your drug addiction treatment program, is exercise. Somehow the chemicals your body needs to feel to heal itself are better released when your body is moving and working hard.

Exercise Encourages Muscle Growth

As you exercise, your body builds new muscle growth. This muscle growth may be aesthetically beneficial, but in addition, you are growing new brain tissue growth that can help repair damaged receptors from prolonged substance abuse.

Experience a Natural High

When you exercise, your brain releases natural feel-good chemicals in healthy doses. This can help you feel better emotionally and physically. One study showed that exercise can lead to a sense of accomplishment, feeling stronger, improved health and an increased resolve to stay sober.

Sleep Better

Drug addiction can mess with your body’s circadian rhythms, making it hard to fall asleep. Exercise helps you return to a healthier sleep cycle. Your body will also heal and recover faster if you get a good night’s rest.

Making a Plan

Everyone’s physical abilities are different from one another. Don’t compare yourself to others around you, just focus on where you are now and where you want to be. Try walking every morning for 30 minutes before you face the demands of the day.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, join a community sports program, lift weights at your local gym or sign up for a short 5k race with a friend or family member.

While a person struggling with addiction may or may not completely overcome that empty void, hope is not lost. Exercise is only one thing that you can do to regain control of your life. Anything you do to improve yourself in a healthy way will help release stress and boost your coping abilities.

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