Recovering from addiction requires you to heal both your mind and your body. Often while using, many people don’t realize how far they’ve let themselves go. After addiction rehab, you may find yourself looking in the mirror at a greatly diminished, much weaker body than you remember. You may lack muscle tone due to loss of important nutrients while abusing alcohol and/or drugs. You may also find that once you stopped using, you packed on the pounds. Being underweight or carrying extra weight can both be unhealthy. This is made doubly bad for someone who’s been damaging their body on a daily basis with various harmful substances. Exercise not only helps you get back into the shape you want and need to be in, but it’s also a constructive physical outlet for the emotional roller coaster you experience during addiction recovery.

You can discover many stories of former addicts who found that a physical fitness program lessened their cravings for their drug of choice and helped them feel better overall. A good fitness regime can give you more energy, improve your circulation and provide a way to manage your weight and improve muscle strength. These are some of the physical benefits. You may also find that running, biking, swimming, working out in a gym or partaking in whatever exercise you enjoy also improves your mood, reduces anxiety and depression, relieves stress and makes you feel better about life in general.

All these things combine to give you an improved self-image with the added benefit of sweating out the toxins in your body in a healthy, invigorating activity. You can even find a workout buddy in a fellow recovering addict. This could foster a new, lifelong friendship and provide a great support system for both of you to keep clean and active.

Exercise can greatly improve the likelihood of successful sober living, but like anything else, you must pursue it in moderation. You can use exercise to help you through recovery and beyond to a healthier lifestyle, but don’t let it become your newest addiction. Too much of anything can turn a healthy habit into a dangerous addiction.