The Benefits of Exercise in Addiction Recovery: How Exercise Can Aid Addiction Treatment

People playing volleyball at sunset.

Most people know that exercise is good for you, but many don’t realize just how good it can be for people who are recovering from addiction. Exercise has been shown to provide a number of benefits when combined with other treatment forms for addiction. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the key benefits of exercise for people in recovery.

Benefits of exercise in addiction recovery

Exercise has benefits for everybody, not just people in addiction recovery. While these benefits aren’t exclusive to those in recovery, they certainly aid in the recovery process.

Some of these benefits include stress reduction, better sleep, improved mood, and increased energy.

Stress reduction

Exercise has been shown to be an effective stress reduction tool.  When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are hormones that naturally help to reduce stress.

For people in recovery, who are often dealing with a great deal of stress, this can be immensely helpful.  On top of that, exercise can help you to cope with stress better by providing a distraction and a sense of control.

Better sleep

Sleep is critical for overall health and well-being. Exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality, helping people to get the most out of their slumber.

Exercise releases tensions and frustrations, helping people to relax and fall asleep more easily. It also helps to increase the duration of deep sleep, which is the most restorative stage of sleep.

This is especially beneficial for those struggling with addiction. Taking drugs causes chemical changes that affect a person’s circadian rhythm, which is the biological clock that controls the sleep cycle. Exercise can help to regulate the body’s natural sleep rhythm, improving sleep overall.

Improved mood

Exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that improve your mood. When you exercise, your brain produces serotonin, which is a chemical that helps to regulate your mood.

Exercise also increases the concentration of norepinephrine in the brain. Norepinephrine is a chemical produced in the brain that connects many of the brain regions involved in emotional response.

On top of providing all these feel-good chemicals, exercise can help improve self-esteem. Setting and achieving goals improves self-confidence which undoubtedly improves a person’s mood.

Increased energy

It may seem counterintuitive, but getting up and moving your body can actually give you more energy.

Exercise helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to the parts of your body that need them most. It helps your brain and muscles to continue to function properly.

On top of that, exercise helps improve your cardiovascular system overall. As a person’s heart and lungs work more and more efficiently, they’ll have more energy to conquer the daily tasks associated with addiction recovery.

Exercise can help prevent relapse

Exercise can help prevent relapse by helping to reduce cravings and improve self-control. One of the reasons is that exercise can produce a “high” similar to the one people feel when they’re abusing substances. This is possible thanks to the endorphins and brain chemicals we mentioned earlier.

A study done by Frontiers in Psychiatry showed that there is convincing evidence that exercise could be used to decrease the chance of relapse in patients recovering from addiction.


Exercise for addiction recovery at Isaiah House

We believe that addressing the physical aspect of a person’s life is an essential part of addiction recovery. At Isaiah House, one of the ways we address this physical aspect is through exercise.

All of our residential treatment programs feature health and exercise activities. Our Chaplin, KY location even has a large gym and workout room. Some of our favorite group exercise activities include softball, basketball, corn hole and volleyball.


Overall, exercise is a great addition to any treatment plan for addiction recovery. It has numerous benefits that can help people in recovery to feel better physically and mentally and to stay on track with their treatment.

However, exercise alone isn’t enough. A good addiction recovery program should holistically address every part of a patient’s life. At Isaiah House, we address not only the physical, but also the spiritual, mental, financial, legal, and educational aspects of our clients’ lives.

Isaiah House is here for you

Since its founding in 1999, Isaiah House Treatment Center has helped thousands of men and women break free from the grip of addiction. We are a non-profit, faith-based addiction treatment center that provides substance use disorder treatment for men and women. Our long-term program is unique because it guarantees employment opportunities after 100 days of treatment.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, reach out to us today. No one should walk through this journey alone, and we want to help you take your first steps to recovery. Call us today at (859) 375-9200.

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