Exercises can be used in different ways to overcome addiction. Since any physical activity can help you feel better, we advise you to choose the type that you like and that will allow you to mitigate the side effects of addiction, such as anxiety and insomnia. You should start training as soon as you feel ready to improve your life. Of course, in addition to physical exercises, it is also important to be able to count on more traditional therapy, for example, psychological. Set realistic goals for yourself and experiment with different disciplines to find out which one is most effective for overcoming addiction.
Table of Contents
Choose the most appropriate activity
Try walking. When you walk, the dopamine level in your body rises. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that the brain produces when experiencing pleasure. Every time you succumb to your addiction, the production of dopamine in your body increases, so you feel “stoned”. Fortunately, you can also have fun just walking through the streets of your neighborhood or in the woods. Walking can also stimulate the production of new brain cells that will replace those that have been damaged or destroyed by old bad habits.
Train your muscle strength. To have stronger and more stable muscles, they usually resort to lifting weights. Exercise machines, dumbbells and barbells can help you burn fat, but more importantly, this type of exercise can help you overcome sleep disorders caused by your addiction. Drug users often suffer from insomnia. Muscle strength training can help normalize the sleep cycle.
Try yoga. This is a form of exercise that improves strength and balance, as well as increases dopamine levels. In addition, it helps you to be less nervous, worry less and focus more on your goal – overcoming addiction. Traditional yoga consists of a series of poses and movements aimed at improving flexibility and physical strength, so it can be very useful in your case. In addition to this, there is also a deep relaxation technique called “restorative yoga”, which also includes meditation and can teach you to become more aware and reflect on your addictive behavior. In addition, it will help you stay focused during difficult times. Ask your friends or search the internet for a yoga center near your home.
Try a team sport. If your addiction has caused you to isolate yourself, joining a group will help you restore social ties. Contact gyms, schools or the municipality in your area to find out which sports you can choose, then talk to the manager of the team you want to participate in and ask him to participate in the selection.
Play sports with your friends. You can also practice group sports without joining a team, for example, by inviting a friend or family member to the park to play football. Remember that it is important to communicate with people who do not use drugs or, at least, do not encourage you to succumb to addiction. Finding ways to communicate with other people that are not related to drug use or other bad behavior will help you feel part of society again and create new healthy relationships.
Overcoming side effects
Establish a regular sleep and wake cycle. Perhaps your addiction has led to the fact that you lead a bad lifestyle and fall asleep at an abnormal time. You may also suffer from insomnia. Exercise will help you develop more normal habits that will improve sleep. If you want to start training just to try to correct your current incorrect sleep pattern (caused by drug use), it is best to engage in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. For example, you can walk or ride a bike.
Manage the alarm. This is a frequently caused side effect of medications. The paradox is that many people start taking drugs precisely in order to get rid of pre-existing anxiety. Fortunately, exercise can help relieve the stress that you are probably experiencing due to addiction. There is no specific form of exercise that will help you get rid of anxiety, so you have the advantage of being able to choose the one that you like best. To achieve the best results, try to focus on the present during your workout. For example, if you decide to play baseball, appreciate the warmth of the sun on your face. Keep an eye on the ball as it moves towards you, pay attention to which direction it rotates, and feel the impact when you grab it with your glove.
Watch your weight. Weight gain is one of the side effects that can occur if you stop using drugs or other addictive substances. You can use exercises to prevent and control this side effect. All you have to do is calculate your daily calorie requirement, how many calories you actually consume and how much you burn in a standard day. To find out if your current weight can be considered healthy, consult your doctor.
Even if you have a normal weight, you should still exercise regularly, but not try to lose weight. If you are overweight, just count the number of calories you consume during a normal day. It’s not difficult, just use the data on the labels of packaged foods or find an online nutrition table that lists the calories contained in fresh ingredients. You can also download an app on your smartphone that will help you calculate the number of calories consumed. It also counts how many calories you burn. Again, you can use the app or website to find out what your daily calorie intake is. To lose weight, the number of calories you consume every day should not exceed what you burn during exercise and other daily activities.
Adopt general principles
Plan exercises for a regular time. Just as the need for drug use arises at regular intervals, the “dose” of daily exercise should also remain constant. The number of “doses” that you need to get rid of addiction depends on you. You should try to train at least 2.5 hours a week, but you may have to train more. For example, 5 hours of exercise a week can help you overcome addiction more effectively than 2.5 hours, which is the minimum level. Try different strategies and schedules. For example, start with one hour of training per week, increase the minimum quota of 2.5 hours, then move on to 3 hours, and so on. Watch your feelings on every level. If you find that with more exercise you feel better, and therefore the desire to succumb to addiction decreases, increase the pace until you are completely in control of yourself.
Try different forms of exercise. Depending on your personality and addiction, you may find that different disciplines have different effects on your ability to get rid of bad habits. For example, you may find that cycling reduces or even eliminates the need for drug use. Otherwise, when swimming, the desire may only decrease slightly. You can also try combining different activities and recording your reactions to figure out which tactic is best for you. Give more space to activities that will make you feel better in a meaningful way, and instead minimize or avoid those that turn out to be less useful.
Start training immediately. Do not use sports only to control undesirable effects that occur after giving up old bad habits. You need to start including physical activity in your daily routine as soon as you decide to get rid of addiction, considering it an integral part of therapeutic therapy. Gradually stopping the use of drugs or other harmful substances, you should exercise when you feel that you may soon succumb to temptation.
At the end of the workout, the need may disappear due to the pleasure caused by physical activity and a long period spent without these substances. For example, try not smoking for 15 hours, and then run or ride a bike for 15 minutes. Combine exercises with other types of treatment. The best thing you can do to overcome addiction is not to rely on just one method. Don’t just go to support group meetings, see a therapist, or exercise. Make your workouts just one of the many strategies you apply to get rid of old bad behavior. If you think you need an individual medication program, contact your doctor.
Don’t be intimidated by physical activity. You may think that you need to train for hours in order for exercise to benefit, but the truth is that even a few minutes a day can really help you overcome addiction. Try walking for 15 minutes every day, and then gradually increase your speed until you can easily run for 15 minutes every day. Then gradually increase the duration of the run. Think about it, 2.5 hours of exercise a week equals a little over 20 minutes a day.
Be realistic when setting goals. For a training program to be effective, it must be feasible. If you set yourself goals that you can’t achieve, like running 10 km every time you succumb to your addiction, you will force yourself to fail. On the contrary, setting realistic goals based on your real abilities. Physical activity can be a really useful tool to improve your self-control and self-esteem.
Have fun. Doing exercises to overcome addiction should not be troublesome. On the contrary, you should feel happy. In fact, you are doing something good not only to give up bad habits, but also to become healthier and better. Enjoy the fresh and clean air while walking in nature. When you ride a bike, enjoy aspects that those who ride in a car cannot notice – such as the warmth of the sun, smells or some details of the landscape.
Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly are less prone to depression, diabetes or heart disease. This is a great reason to feel happy during training.
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