Putting a stop to your drinking habit is difficult, and even when you do, chances of a relapse still exist. But if you exercise regularly, you say goodbye to your addiction once and for all.
A study conducted in 2011 claimed that even a 30 minute exercise session, conducted 10 times in two weeks, can drop cravings by more than 50%. Another similar research concluded that the exercise is a powerfully effective tool for decreasing excessive usage of cocaine, nicotine, alcohol and other substances.
Exercise makes it easier for you to recover by making you feel more positive and focused. You develop a general sense of well-being and become more motivated to stay away from alcohol. And let’s keep in mind that exercise has other health benefits such as blood pressure regulation, lower chances of stroke, diabetes control obesity prevention and greater muscular strength and flexibility.
While a variety of exercises can help you stay clean, running is one of the most effective in the recovery phase. Lifting weights and playing a sport like hockey is also known to be effective.
Let’s first take a look at some common ways in which workout can help you stop drinking, and then we’ll discuss other methods as well.
Ways Work Out Can Help to Stop Drinking
Regular workout sessions bring about many positive influences. You learn to commit, to focus on what you want – the results, and you learn to lead a disciplined life. Exercise gives you a feeling of accomplishment, which motivates you more and makes you more determined to stop your drinking habit. Plus, the determination to become fitter and healthier can help you take your mind off drinking. Develop it into your new passion, and you’d become more motivated to get sober.
- Exercise produces endorphins in the human brain, which can serve as a reward if someone is battling addicting. Regular workouts produce more of these chemicals, making it easier for you to stay clean.
- Exercise reduces your cravings and makes you more confidence. You raise your energy levels and lead to a better quality of life.
- Since workout sessions allow you to focus, you think clearly and in a more relaxed manner. Your daily schedule and life overall, become more structured.
- Sleep is a cure for so many problems, but excessive drinking disrupts your sleep habits. Some of you may toss and turn the whole night, and others may sleep irregularly. Some of you may even stay up until the wee hours of the morning and then doze off into a disturbed sleep session. All these irregular sleep patterns can develop headaches, anxiety, and stress. Exercise not only helps you with recovery but also treats these other problems by improving your sleeping habits.
- Drinking in healthy quantities may be stimulating, but too much of it can make you feel irritable, stressed and depressed. Exercise treats these mood swings, making you feel more relaxed and contented.
Exercises that are more effective for recovery
You can choose from a variety of workout plans if you want to become sober. Some of the options include walking, running, hiking, swimming, yoga, weight lifting, biking and even martial arts.
Yoga: Yoga is a common part of an alcohol recovery program, offering a range of physical and mental health benefits. Restorative yoga is less intensive and reduces stress levels which may trigger a relapse. Power yoga is intense and strengthens your body.
Walking or Hiking: Regularly waking increases your dopamine levels which keeps your alcohol cravings at bay. Even a quick outdoor stroll can improve brain functioning, making you feel better.
Strength Training: Drug addicts often suffer from insomnia as discussed earlier. Weight lifting and bodyweight exercise such as push-ups can improve your sleep cycle gradually.
Since everyone is different, the effectiveness of different plans may vary from person to person. And it may be sometime before you find an exercise plan that works best for you. Work with a fitness expert as part of an alcohol rehab treatment, and they’ll come up with a customized workout plan. Moreover, they’ll monitor your progress and make changes to your plan accordingly and whenever needed.
Developing a workout routine
If you have never followed a fitness plan before, it may be difficult for you to start exercising in the beginning. But that is natural. Start it slow and work out for only 15 to 20 minutes initially. You can then gradually increase the duration to around 45 to 60 minutes or as your trainer advise you.
Choose exercises that you enjoy doing, so that you’re motivated to continue ahead with a program. Develop a schedule devoting a suitable number of hours to work out every week, and then stick to it.
And by the way, both exercising and alcohol recovery are generally more effective when you do it as a group. So consult an alcohol rehab treatment provider and seek their advice on the matter.
A bit of advice
While exercising does help you stay sober and prevent a relapse, don’t overdo it either. Too much can exercise can lead to physical injuries and unhealthy weight loss.
Other alternatives or ways to stop drinking
You can prevent your cravings and put an end to your drinking habits through other ways as well. Here are some of the most effective strategies.
Recognize the triggers
Triggers, both internal and external, can set off your cravings. Learn to recognize them if you want to stay sober. For instance, you may want to drink whenever you are stressed out. But battle your anxiety in other ways: talk to a friend or indulge in a hobby so that feel better and can keep your mind off drinking.
Talk to your partner, parents, and siblings, and get them to understand the different aspects of your alcohol treatment program. They can offer support, playing a key role in preventing relapse.
Build a support network
Other than your family, many social groups and influencers can help you with recovery. Surround yourself with people who make you more confident and boost your self-esteem.
Follow a proper diet plan
A proper diet plan and hydration can improve your recovery chances because they restore mental and physical health. Nutrient deficiencies can force your energy levels to drop or make you feel depressed, triggering relapse. Certain foods improve digestion and optimize the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, which reduces cravings.
When to look for professional help
A study claims that not even 1% alcohol abusers receive the help they need. Should things get too much out of hand, and the impacts become too serious to be ignored, you should try seeking professional help. Here are some signs that indicate you should sign up for an alcohol rehab treatment program.
- You suffer from headaches, cramps, paranoia, and insomnia even though it’s only been a couple of hours since you last had a drink.
- Your alcohol usage is causing various health problems.
- You drove a car when you were intoxicated or have received a DUI ticket.
- You harmed yourself or someone when you were drunk.
Wait no longer, and sign up for professional help earlier on for an easier and more successful recovery.