Shouldn’t People in Treatment Be Resting Instead of Exercising?

The body needs a lot of rest during early recovery. Exhausted from weeks of detox, ongoing symptoms of withdrawal, and likely years of not getting the wholesome sleep that they needed, sleep is essential during treatment. Sleep is when people in treatment are able to rest their body and their brain, get the energy they need for the next day. Research and endless personal experiences have found that sleep is better, deeper, and more restorative, when the body is regularly exercising. Late night looping thoughts and obsessive thinkings are put to bay when the body is tried. Exercise helps the mind regulate and has proven benefits for mental health.

Exercise is considered an evidence-based practice for reducing symptoms of depression, for example, and is effective in reducing stress as well anxiety. Exercise helps the body detoxify, sweat, and build strength. As much a practice as it is a discipline, exercise is part of building habits and routines that make the body feel good. Exercise is known to make the brain feel good as well. Physical exercise promotes the production of endorphins which are those brain chemicals which create the ‘rush’ of exercise and feelings of happiness. Exercise also creates dopamine, which plays a major role in addiction in the brain. Dopamine is a brain chemical which communicates with major parts of the brain like the reward center of the brain. Addiction, being a disorder of reward creates too much reward in the brain and only associates reward with drugs and alcohol. Exercise creates healthy dopamine which is associated with healthier practices and habits. When someone goes to treatment for addiction, their brains are depleted in dopamine production because their brains have become completely chemically dependent on drugs and alcohol to create dopamine, thereby creating pleasure. Exercise is an essential tool for rebuilding that dopamine level and creating new neural pathways for pleasure.

Additionally, exercise is healthy for the heart. Both stimulating substances and depressant substances can have a harmful effect on the heart. The heart can become weakened over time by drugs and alcohol, creating lifelong risks for heart attack. Regular exercise is proven to be a ‘heart healthy’ practice which helps the body heal.


At Lakehouse Recovery Center, we’re taking recovery seriously, while having fun. Our programs focus on bringing quality, effective treatment to clients while showing them how to have fun again without drugs and alcohol. For information on our exercise programs and residential treatment programs for addiction, call us today: 877.762.3707


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