Exercise is a powerful tool in the battle against addiction. Well-being increases and the body can find more balance once substances are removed from the mind and body. The risk of relapse decreases with the increase of exercise in a person’s life. Learn what three steps can be used to help build a successful exercise routine in recovery and how to incorporate them into daily life.


Benefits of Regular Exercise

Exercise, when used on a regular basis, can help a person recover from a substance use disorder in the following ways:

  • Reduce cravings
  • Release endorphins
  • Relieve stress
  • Improve wellbeing
  • Increase confidence
  • Improve health
  • Heal damage to the body caused by addiction
  • Provide daily structure
  • Improve self-confidence and body image
  • Improve the quality of life overall


Addiction Transfer

One of the challenges of starting an exercise regimen in recovery is the possibility of addiction transfer. People in recovery from addiction may engage in binge-like patterns of exercising excessively. The best thing to do is focus on building it into one’s lifestyle while staying away from activities which may provide too much of an endorphin rush such as cliff jumping, driving fast cars or other activities which kick in adrenaline and provide a ‘rush’ which may kickstart an addiction to those activities.


Building a Routine

The following three ways are great for building exercise into a recovery plan. They include:

  • Choosing a hobby or activity that is enjoyable which may include hiking, walking, swimming, running, yoga or team sports.
  • Start slow and work up to it. Consult with a physician and make a schedule to be accountable to getting in exercise at least 30 minutes per day
  • Find others who are doing the same activities and share interest in it. This will build accountability and help create relationships in addition to better health.  



Exercise can help prevent relapse and encourage abstinence from drugs and alcohol. A very real risk exists of overexertion or addiction transfer. Compulsive exercise can have detrimental mental and physical health consequences. Learning how to take breaks and insert time off into the schedule allows the body time to repair from strenuous physical activity to prevent injury and sickness. Working out with others can help a person monitor exercise levels and make the experience more enjoyable. Speak with a doctor prior to starting a program and monitor activity levels. Most of all, find activities that are enjoyable and fun to do. This will ensure activities last long into recovery and provide benefits for a long time to come.


Many recovery programs provide or encourage exercise as part of the recovery plan. If you are looking for a treatment program for addiction, Hired Power can help. We provide resources and information to support your journey back to health. Call us to find out how we can help you get started.