From opium rehab to alcoholics anonymous, it can seem like the fight to find a cure for addiction is almost never-ending. In fact, the truth is that a simple cure may not be around the corner. Like all things in life, if you want to find lasting change, you are going to have to work for it. For that reason, many people are turning to intense exercise in order to help battle their addictions. Let’s go ahead and take some time so that we can properly understand how routine exercise can be used to hold off the demon that is addiction.

Understanding Addiction

As you know, addiction can come in many different forms. From shopaholics and binge eaters to hardcore drug users, the creeping harm of addiction can be found in just about every walk of life. In fact, addiction can even manifest itself in socially acceptable ways: caffeine dependency, the workaholic mindset, and even sugar (yes, sugar!). With all of these different addictions present in our daily lives, how can any single cure be found in order to treat them all? Well, the goal is in treating the person, not the addiction itself and that is where exercise comes into play.

The Impact of Exercise on Addiction

Alright, so we have a fairly basic level of understanding regarding addiction and its prevalence in our society. Now, we are going to pivot toward talking about what we can actually do about fighting that internal battle with addiction. Outside of getting the appropriate mental and physical health care that you need through a licensed doctor, you can also up your exercise regimen in order to take matters more into your own hands.

When you are dealing with an addiction, whether it be caffeine or heroin, your body becomes accustomed to a certain level of endorphins surging through your system. What does this mean? Well, endorphins are responsible for giving us that ‘high’ feeling that we grew to love and, eventually, become addicted to. If you’ve battled addiction, it is a feeling that probably haunts you on a daily basis. When your brain lacks that endorphin rush, you can feel like it is easier and easier to cave and relapse. So, what can you do?

Whether you are going through withdrawal or out on the other side trying to stay clean, you can begin regularly practicing daily exercise. Living drug-free doesn’t mean that you can’t get that pleasurable endorphin rush because, after all, exercise can provide it to you! Whether you want to lift heavy weights or go for a mile run, your body will start to release endorphins during and after your sweat session. Exercise can literally be a healthy way for you to replace your addiction.

Outside of the endorphin rush that exercise gives, daily physical activity can also lead to a calming effect on your mind and body. When you push your body during exercise, your brain releases a chemical known as galanin. Galanin has been found to help reduce cravings that are related to stress. So, the next time you feel inclined to reach toward that cigarette or bottle of beer, remember that you can find mental relief and physical improvement through the rigors of daily physical fitness. With hard work at the gym and support from your loved ones, fighting your addiction and keeping it at bay will become easier and easier as time wears on.