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Addiction, Exercise and Recovery
For those suffering with addiction, exercise has been proven to enhance their recovery. Sounds simple. But it's not easy. Whether it's from alcohol, drugs or eating disorders, addicted people can spend years abusing their bodies. Either by consuming chemicals, making poor food choices, or simply living in denial of their health and wellbeing, often an addicted person mistreats the body.
Exercise - A Low Priority
Those suffering with addiction can take the whole family down with them in the form of disease in body, mind, and spirit.
Exercise is often at the bottom of the list of self-care. The addict seeks the next short-term high. The family is trying to create as much normalcy as possible, resulting in rampant co-dependency. With all this manipulation and reactivity, exercise and playful activity are low on the priority list.
Exercise - We Were Created to Move
However, the body was created to move. As hunters, gatherers, farmers and industrialists, forward movement meant heavy labor and activity. Now in the U.S. and other developing countries, technology has replaced traditional heavy labor. The result? We lead sedentary lives.
Sitting is The New Smoking
Research has validated that sitting is now the new smoking. From our hour-long commute, to hours sitting with our laptops, to the couch at home, Americans are spending more time sitting than ever before. The science reveals it’s wreaking havoc on our bodies.
Dr. James Levine is the director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk. He has been studying the adverse effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles for years and sums up his findings in two sentences.
“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.
Levine is credited with coining that mantra, “sitting is the new smoking”, but he’s not the only one who believes it. Researchers have found and continue to find evidence that prolonged sitting increases the risk of developing several serious illnesses like various types of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
At Whole Families Intervention & Holistic Recovery Services, we know from our own experience that healing the whole body is essential for long-term recovery and wellness. In fact, the whole company is founded on the vision of holistic healing and recovery for the body, mind, and spirit. Both for those suffering with addiction and their families.
In addition to whole foods nutrition, we begin working with clients on mindful movement and exercise.
Exercise Makes Us Feel Good
The gift of exercising is that it douses the brain with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that creates a natural high. We begin with mindful movement, such as yoga, tai chi, meditative walking, and/or simply walking in nature.
As we increase our fitness, our mood rises, depression decreases and the excuse list begins to shrink. Research has shown that regular workouts increase the number of new nerve connections in the brain, which helps it heal from the effects of substance use.
Exercise may not be an exciting proposition for everyone, but for overall wellness, its results are. Many clients experience an increase in self-confidence. Simply walking between 30 - 45 minutes can build your inner strength to meet challenges all throughout your day.
Mindful Movement - Healing for the Mind and Body
A great option for exercise and healing is yoga. Yoga connects the mind, body, and breath. It helps relieve stress, increases stamina, improves self-awareness, supports emotional healing and reduces fatigue. It is being used throughout recovery as a preferred choice for exercise.
A huge component of exercise is anger management. Those affected by addiction find themselves engulfed with righteous anger.
Boxing, weight lifting and a good strong walk, run or hike can help moderate anger and change one’s perspective, generating clarity, calmness, and perhaps even compassion.
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