It’s no secret that exercise benefits the body and the mind. Vigorous exercise improves circulation, strengthens the heart, helps maintain weight, relieves stress, sharpens the mind, and aids in sweating toxins out of the body. Researchers are now exploring how exercise can specifically help those individuals who are enrolled in substance abuse rehabilitation programs.

Clinical Studies

Two published studies in the fall of 2010 reported on the benefits of exercise for those with drug abuse problems. Biological Psychiatry reported that, in a study with rats, those who exercised on a wheel had less craving for cocaine and suffered less damage to the brain’s prefrontal cortex than those who did not exercise.

The Scandinavian Journal of Public Health reported that drug abuse clients who incorporated exercise into their rehab programs reported a much improved quality of life and a reduced intake of the drugs that they had been abusing. Participants claimed that they could breathe easier, had much more energy, and overall felt better about their physical appearance.

Healing and recovering from a substance abuse addiction requires total healing-both mentally and physically. By incorporating exercise into these treatment programs clients can speed their improvement time and incorporate life-long healthy routines into their lifestyle. A strong body, sculpted by exercise, will fair much better when facing the physical withdrawal symptoms of detox. A strong mind, calmed and focused by stress-reducing exercises and a better body image, will fair much better when facing the emotional strains during rehab. Individuals will benefit both physically and psychologically from exercise while enrolled in a substance abuse treatment program.

Physical Benefits

  • Weight loss and management
  • Improved muscle strength
  • Boosts energy
  • More restful sleep
  • Improved circulation

Psychological Benefits

  • Improved self-concept
  • Improved mood
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Provides a healthy hobby to occupy time
  • Sharpens mental skills

Popular Exercise Programs in Residential Rehab Programs

Residential drug treatment facilities are seeing the importance of incorporating exercise into the daily routine of their patients. Some of the most popular exercise programs in these facilities include cardio, yoga, and outdoor exercises.

Stairmasters and exercise bikes are offered to patients to build muscle and strengthen the heart. Yoga sessions are offered to reduce stress, calm anxieties, and provide healing muscle stretches. These facilities also often have walking trails so the patients can enjoy the dual healing of low-impact cardio with the healing sights and sounds of nature.

Exercise is a natural way to heal and strengthen the body and mind. It seems natural that more substance abuse treatment centers are incorporating these important exercise routines into their programs to help their clients recover and heal holistically.


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