Exercise against Withdrawal – Is Workout the Best Remedy?

Addiction is a common problem affecting a large percentage of the population and its effects on a person’s health and wellbeing are catastrophic. There are many types of addictions a person can suffer from like drug abuse, whether prescription drugs or other forms and alcohol abuse. Most treatments that handle recovery and withdrawal symptoms involve tons of therapy, especially psychological. While this can work wonders for many people, others believe physical therapy can have the same effect. Recently, studies have shown that leading an active lifestyle with regular exercise can help recovering addicts get their lives back on track. We tackle that theory below to determine if working out is the right remedy against withdrawal.

How Withdrawal Affects Your Body

The thing about addiction is that you’re constantly giving your body false endorphins that give you that ‘high’. You end up craving it so often during times of stress and that, obviously, leads to addiction. If you’re one of the lucky few who sought help by checking into a rehabilitation center, you’ll notice a bunch of drug withdrawal symptoms that make it hard to fight it. Anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation, lack of appetite, and muscle cramps are just some of the symptoms you’ll be experiencing. However, there’s always a way around this and many rehab centers recommend a myriad of treatments including exercise.

Benefits of Fighting Withdrawal with Exercise

Typically, recovery techniques aim to find healthier ways to restore your brain’s chemical balance that was destroyed by your addiction. When you exercise regularly, you release dopamine to your brain, thus giving you a natural high or rush. By resorting to natural ways to get ‘high’ or responding to your cravings during stressful times with exercise, you’re bound to get your body back on track and reducing withdrawal symptoms as well like depression or digestive problems. The rush of endorphins you get will make you feel more confident, relaxed, and will strengthen your recovery process.

Finding the Right Workout

Getting the will or motivation to exercise can be a difficult task for anyone, let alone a recovering addict. However, if you surround yourself with a positive environment willing to help you overcome this hurdle, you’ll find that developing the routine of exercising regularly something simple to do. Find the right exercise for you because a lot of them have different effects on your body and health. In doing so, you’ll feel more motivated to get better. Below are some exercises you can try:


Studies have shown that starting off with a simple 15-minute walk or hike in the great outdoors can keep cravings at bay. It will also help with brain cell regrowth. This is ideal if you’re experiencing muscle aches due to withdrawal or you aren’t in great shape physically. The fresh air will do you good.


Many rehab centers include yoga as part of their treatment programs for the vast benefits it has on the mind and body. Although it’s a less intense form of exercise, it has the power to alleviate stress and anxiety which can trigger your relapse. Yoga can also enhance your brain power and improve not only your physical health but mental health as well.

Strength Training

Cardio exercises are great in enhancing your heart health and overall fitness. However, mixing cardio with strength training exercises like weight lifting or CrossFit can produce a myriad of other needed benefits for recovering addicts. One way that it fights withdrawal symptoms is that it helps with insomnia and promotes better sleeping patterns.

Team Sports

This is an ideal way to fight withdrawal because not only are you getting active by playing basketball or football, it also helps you socialize with positive people. Forming new relationships away from the drug scene can improve your lifestyle and give you a much better mindset. Not only are you releasing dopamine into your brain, but you’re also regaining your confidence back by knowing that you can easily integrate back into your society.

Overcoming the Hurdle

Withdrawal is just an obstacle on your road to recovery. Developing a routine by exercising regularly also helps you stay focused and keep your mind off drugs; it controls your urges and cravings and helps avoid relapse. By finding the right therapeutic tools to heal your body and mind, you’ll be able to lead a healthier lifestyle.