Best Places to Exercise for People in Recovery in Los Angeles
Exercise has many positive benefits for our bodies, particularly for people in recovery. The simple act of moving your body can affect the success of your recovery treatments. Up to 60% of people who undergo rehab for a substance use disorder will use that substance again within a year. Researchers continue to look for ways to lower that number, and it’s now understood that exercise can be a healthy substitute for drug and alcohol use. Regular exercise can help people avoid relapse, and although that link is still not fully understood, there is growing evidence that exercise helps keep a person sober. And exercise can even be fun! There are multitudes of fitness programs and facilities in Los Angeles waiting to be discovered.
The Importance of Exercise for People in Recovery
Experts in the field of addiction now think that exercise can act as a stand-in for addictive substances in your brain. That’s because when you exercise it activates the same chemical messengers in your brain, which tell the part of your brain that controls positive encouragement that you’re doing a good thing. Drugs and alcohol also activate this system, which is what makes them physically and psychologically addictive. Our brains are hard-wired to do the things that produce these chemical messengers, known as neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine. Attending a fitness class or workout session also allows you to complete small, achievable goals and that can boost self-esteem. Here are a few ways exercise can help you feel better.
- Reducing stress. If you’ve been diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder, especially if it is alongside a co-occurring disorder, you’re no stranger to stress. Exercise is proven to reduce stress and keeps your attention in the present. This improves mindfulness when you are focused on the here and now and not worried about the past or future.
- You’ll sleep better. Regular exercise improves the quality and length of sleep, and we know that sleep is crucial to good health.
- You’ll feel better too. Exercise releases endorphins. During the first days and weeks of your recovery your brain is re-learning how to feel good without drugs or alcohol and you may struggle to feel happy. Exercise helps your brain feel better!
- Pep in your step. You might be feeling lethargic and tired during your recovery. Exercise does consume energy but it also returns it to our bodies. If you exercise regularly you’ll have more energy.
- Relapse prevention. You’ve put your heart and soul into the recovery process, and have accomplished so many great things for yourself in therapy. Regular exercise is shown to help people stay in recovery by keeping depression and anxiety at tolerable levels.