Why You Should Take Up Running in Recovery

July 9th, 2019

Not only is running a great form of exercise that poses many benefits for all individuals, but it can be especially beneficial to those in recovery. Most individuals who battled addiction face many stresses and anxiety both before getting clean and after returning home from treatment. Exercise is an incredible way to relieve stress, as well as, a mood booster that provides you with a healthy way to avoid cravings and fill your time in recovery.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of running in recovery and the simple ways of getting started. 

For someone who is using drugs, those drugs stimulate the release of feel-good chemicals to the brain such as Dopamine. Over time, an individual with substance use disorder is going to require more and more dopamine in order to feel the same euphoria with every use. Running, and exercise in general, releases the stimulates the same type of chemical release in the brain and can replace this positive feeling; Often reducing cravings and the drive to seek out the drugs or alcohol you were previously addicted to. 

In terms of biological benefits, running can also increase your feeling of self-confidence and self control, reducing feelings of frustration and helplessness. 

Not only are there biological benefits, but there are clear physical benefits to running. These include an increased stamina, weight loss, stronger lungs and heart. Studies have shown that running can even lower your risk of getting certain cancers and can boost your immune system. Running is also a great way to make new friends and find community in your area. Most cities often have running groups available to individuals of all levels of fitness that run varying distances. 

Running also helps to add structure to your day. Upon entering into recovery and returning to normal life, many individuals often find themselves with extra time that they’re unsure how to fill. By committing to running, or any kind of exercise routine, can fill up several hours of your time when you consider getting ready for the workout, doing the actual workout, then time to clean up post workout. Setting a workout schedule for yourself not only gives you something to look forward to, but it can give you a reason to wake up in the morning. 

An important thing to remember is to start small; Especially if you are someone who never really worked out prior to treatment. Don’t think that you’re going to be jogging 5k from the moment you lace up your shoes. It’s totally okay to begin taking long, brisk walks through your neighborhood or the local park in order to build up to jogging short distances. 

Another important thing to remember is not to replace one addiction with another. It sounds silly to some, but exercise can be addictive. Exercise can often be a way to put off responsibilities or avoiding things. Make sure that they exercise schedule you set for yourself is a healthy one and ensure that you’re also giving enough time to the relationships and interests in your life. 

The bottom line is that running and exercise can be a pivotal part of maintaining sobriety and finding meaning in recovery. Not only will you be improving your physical fitness, but your mental fitness as well. All you have to do is take the first step and get moving.