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How To Beat Addiction Through Exercise

Rob Lowe beat addiction at 26

If you are trying to beat addiction or you know someone that needs help beating an addiction, keep on reading. It is common knowledge that exercise is great for both your mental health, as well as your physical health. It is an excellent method to pave the way towards health and fitness, and also as an outlet for all the stresses, tension and anxiety in one’s life.

But did you know that working out and building a fitness regime has proven to be a very crucial and useful tool to battle addiction?

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There has been sound and ever-increasing evidence that has shown exercise to be one of the healthier and fast acting options for people who are trying to stay sober and stay clean.

The Withdrawal Phase

When trying to beat addiction, every person goes through a difficult phase called the ‘withdrawal phase’.

This is characterized by feelings of anxiety, depression, lethargy, despair, anger, and irritability. This happens when the use of an addictive substance such as drugs or alcohol is suddenly discontinued, resulting in what is commonly known as ‘withdrawal symptoms’.

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Some common symptoms include muscle tension, digestive problems, and even problems with the nervous system like extreme sweating, severe headaches, watery or dry mouth, to name a few.

It is important to note here that withdrawal symptoms vary in terms of their intensity and from person-to-person, depending on individual experience and the substance that the person is withdrawing from. But one aspect or characteristic that is central to all withdrawal symptoms is the intense urge or craving to consume more of the substance or engage more in the particular behavior.

The Runner’s High 

During the process of trying to beat addiction, both the body and mind of the individual experiences an unavoidable urge or craving for the substance that was basically creating the feeling of being ‘high’ by producing certain endorphins in the brain.

Exercising and working out have also been shown to produce the same sense of euphoria and elation that comes with a chemical high, although in much lower intensity. This sensation is called the “runner’s high” which is a euphoric feeling characterized by reduced ability to feel pain and lowers levels of anxiety.

These effects of exercise are believed to be gratifying both physically and mentally and can also often result in increased confidence and a sense of achievement in terms of staying clean and sober.

Dealing with withdrawal is undeniably really tough when battling to beat addiction but with a fitness regime; one can live a healthy and addiction-free life. Some of the most common positive effects of exercising include:

  • Reduced anxiety and stress
  • Reduced substance use and cravings
  • A constructive coping mechanism
  • Promotes quality sleep
  • Decreases effectiveness and efficiency of drugs
  • Boosts self-esteem
  • Improves the thinking process
  • Fosters a positive outlook
  • Restores brain cells damaged by the addiction

However, despite these obvious benefits of exercise and workouts, the commonly asked question still stands: how can running, jogging, yoga and perhaps weightlifting help someone beat addiction? How does following a fitness regime help them to cope during the process?

Fitness and Recovery Go Hand In Hand

Recovery is definitely hard and comes with a fair share of different kinds of stressors both on the mind and body. As you struggle your way through the detox phase, you will also experience certain painful symptoms that are likely to make you feel frustrated and overwhelmed.

In such situations, a healthy outlet to help relieve your stress is extremely crucial and becomes an absolute necessity.

One of the best ways to relieve your body of all the stress and strain is exercise. This is believed to be one of the most rewarding forms of stress relief. Be it an intense cardio session in the gym, an hour of yoga or simply a walk down your block; any form of physical activity will provide your body with a major endorphin boost and help simulate that euphoric sensation that you are craving.

Exercise also creates the mind-body connection by giving you something healthy to focus on and burning off all the negative energy you build inside your body during the recovery process. Research shows that working out can curb your intense cravings and it also helps reduce the beating addiction-related withdrawal symptoms that seem to take a toll on your physical and mental health. 

Rob Lowe’s Gift of Alcoholism

The famous 54-year old American star and actor “Rob Lowe” who has appeared multiple times on the screen, popularly known for his role in the show “Parks and Recreation” also beat an alcohol addiction when he was 26 years old.

How?

He channeled all his addictions into fitness and health, developing quite a passion for surfing, along the way.

Rob was reported to have said that his health and fitness became “an outlet for all the tension, stresses, and compulsivity. I funneled the addiction, frankly, into that.”

He further said that he prefers putting himself into a state of ‘forced mental solitude’ during exercising, unlike most people who love to blast their favorite gym songs on full volume during a workout. He calls it the “gift of alcoholism”, which paved his way towards a better life, improved health and great well-being.

Not just this but a healthy fitness regime also inculcated feelings and traits such as honesty, integrity, fearlessness, gratitude, and faith, enhancing his overall mental and physical health.

It is safe to say that exercise and a proper fitness regime might as well be the solution you are looking for to beat your addiction. While you may wonder what regimes or physical activities you should add to your routine, well, that’s the beauty of fitness. There is no “wrong” way to do it because whichever form of exercise or workout you choose, it will eventually help you beat your addiction and allow you to lead a healthy, fit, and balanced life.

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It is safe to say that exercise and a proper fitness regime might as well be the solution you are looking for to beat your addiction. While you may wonder what regimes or physical activities you should add to your routine, well, that’s the beauty of fitness. There is no “wrong” way to do it because whichever form of exercise or workout you choose, it will eventually help you beat your addiction and allow you to lead a healthy, fit, and balanced life.

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