Does exercise have an important part to play in recovery?
We are constantly told that regular exercise is a good for us but it could be the last thing on your mind when it comes to recovery. Many people exercise to improve their cardiovascular health but more and more research has been carried out to look at the relationship between regular exercise and mental health. The results have shown that regular exercise can assist in recovery in many ways including; lower rates of depression and anxiety, boost mood, improve sleep, increase self-esteem, increase energy and reduce stress levels.
Proven benefits of regular exercise in recovery
Reduces anxiety and depression, exercise promotes changes in the brain, it releases endorphins the ‘feel good’ chemicals and creates new activity patterns that can improve mood and help bring an overall sense of happiness and well-being. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day is enough to bring a positive boost in mood.
Relieves and reduces stress, which can trigger a relapse if not managed properly. Stress can cause the muscles in the body to become tense; creating such tension in the body can lead to insomnia, cramps, aches and pains. This can lead to more worry and stress, creating a vicious cycle. Exercise can break this cycle and help to relax the body, relieve tension, reduce stress and lower the chances of relapsing.
Clears the mind, exercise can help to shift focus and help to escape the mind. Focusing on the movement rather than the mind has similar benefits as meditation. It works as a distraction to escape negative thought patterns that can feed depression and anxiety. This distraction even if only for a brief moment can bring clarity and a more optimistic outlook.
Improves sleep, exercise can help regulate sleep patterns that can become erratic after substance abuse. Drug and especially alcohol abuse can upset our circadian rhythms and bring on insomnia, which can result in a dependency on a substance to get sleep and stay asleep. Regular exercise can help reset the body clock and restore its natural rhythms.
Increases energy, obviously exercise uses energy but the pay off is that increasing your heart rate also increases oxygen levels in the body which boosts your overall energy and helps your immune system. This can lead to increased productivity and motivation to carry out daily tasks bringing a whole new zest for life.
Boosts self confidence, moving your body and improving your overall fitness even on a subtle level can work wonders for your self-confidence. Physically it can change the appearance of your body and improve self-image but it can also on a deeper level improve self-worth, which can take a real knock on the road to recovery.
Help to control addiction, exercise causes the brain to release dopamine the ‘reward chemical’ the same chemical that is released after consuming drugs, alcohol, food and also during sex. Exercise can help during recovery to reintroduce natural levels of dopamine and help regulate brain chemistry in a natural way rather than turning to the usual source of addiction.
At Ibiza Calm we understand the importance of the mind and body connection, we work simultaneously to heal the mind and body as a whole. Exercise is a fundamental component of the healing process, whether walking in nature, cementing that mind and body connection in yoga or raising your heart beat in a cardiovascular work out. Maintaining an exercise programme can assist with managing cravings and triggers during treatment and recovery. Getting an exercise routine in place can help manage the demands of the everyday life and make recovery more sustainable.