An addiction can wreak havoc on the body. It can bring harm to the biological system that brings oxygen to the brain and blood to the heart. For this reason, getting sober isn’t only the end of substance use; it’s about restoring the body to its natural state. Physically, emotionally, and psychologically, sober living is healthy living, and one primary way to address health in each of these three areas is through exercise.
To support the health and well-being of their residents, Transcend Recovery Community has partnered with Iron Fitness. Transcend is aware that destruction to the brain and body can be severe with addictions to drugs such as heroin or methamphetamine. And even the regular use of alcohol can be harmful. For example, alcohol impedes nutrient breakdown and impairs the ability to assimilate those nutrients. And, when someone is in the height of their drinking, 50 percent of their calorie intake is derived from drinking.
Addiction can be damaging to the body not only because of the addiction but also because of the destructive food choices that frequently accompany addiction. For instance, an addict can easily and unconsciously work through an entire bag of chips while watching television. Knowing this has led many sober living homes and halfway houses to include fitness and nutritional counseling in their programs.
In fact, the point of sober living programs is to restore your health. The word recovery comes from a late Middle English word denoting restoration; it means to get back or return. Those who have chosen recovery aim to return to a state of well-being. Sober living programs, such as Transcend Recovery Community,hope to facilitate this state of health by offering activities that reduce stress, raise one’s mood, change unhealthy thinking, and improve personal balance.
To do this, a significant aspect of recovery is fitness and regular exercise. Physical activity can release endorphins, boost positive feelings, and affect one’s overall mental health. Exercise can also help with the health of the brain, including making new neural connections, which alone can facilitate enduring change. Physical exercise can also be used as a coping mechanism. Whereas in the past reaching for a drink was the way to cope with life’s stress, now running or walking or doing yoga can be a healthier option. Vigorous exercise can also help release tension and vent anger. Furthermore, to experience the benefits from exercise, you don’t have to run three miles a day; simply taking a walk regularly can boost psychological health.
It’s important to know too that drugs and alcohol can prevent the body from properly absorbing amino acids, which are key components in the body’s production of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals produced in the brain, which transmit messages to the body. Neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, allow the body to experience well-being. When the natural production of these neurotransmitters is disrupted by drug or alcohol abuse, it exacerbates an individual’s dependence on substances because he or she loses the ability to feel good naturally.
In fact, many psychological illnesses are partly the result of an imbalance in the way that certain neurotransmitters are being produced. Often, addiction begins because an individual is looking for a way to manage depression or anxiety. In some cases, the brain may be producing too much or too little neurotransmitters. Of course, too much or too little of certain neurotransmitters can influence moods, focus, body temperature, hunger, and perception. Some recovering addicts might be surprised that exercising can boost mood and well-being so much that even cravings for drugs or alcohol decrease or go away entirely.
For all these reasons, Transcend Recovery Community has partnered with Iron Fitness, providing all their residents with a gym membership to nurture and help grow the healthy lifestyle that is essential in sobriety, especially early sobriety. Along with the immense support that Transcend provides its residents, Iron Fitness also loves working with Transcend residents in order to meet their unique needs. Elliot, one of Transcend’s staff members lost 80 pounds by participating in Iron Fitness’ gym and boxing program. He said that along with his dedication and hard work the personal trainers and boxing instructors at Iron Fitness kept him motivated but were not overly pushy. Elliot felt encouraged but not intimidated. The personal trainers helped set manageable goals for him, which were crucial in achieving weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.
Ongoing physical exercise can facilitate feeling better physically and mentally, which can change one’s experience of life. Recovery and long-term sober living are within reach when exercise is a regular part of one’s life.
If you are reading this on any blog other than Transcend Recovery Community or via my RSS Feed, it is stolen content without credit. You can find me on Twitter via @RecoveryRobert Come and visit our blog at http://TranscendRecoveryCommunity.com/blog