Importance of Physical Wellness in Addiction Recovery
Physical wellness can help reduce stress, improve mental health, and promote physical well-being, making it a key element of addiction recovery.
Physical wellness is the state of being physically healthy and free from illness or injury. It’s no secret that our physical health can directly impact our mental well-being, as we tend to feel better mentally and emotionally when we are physically well. Conversely, when our physical health declines, we can also feel our mental and emotional health decline.
These are clear indications that physical and mental health go hand in hand.
Why Is Physical Wellness Important?
Physical wellness is important for several reasons. First, it helps you understand how your body works and what you can do to keep it healthy. Second, it can help you prevent or manage health conditions and diseases. Finally, it can improve your quality of life by reducing stress, improving sleep, and increasing energy levels.
Therefore, it’s important to take care of our physical health, both for our mental health and our overall well-being. Being mindful and increasing awareness of your physical state can greatly benefit many aspects of your health and life.
Goals for Achieving Physical Wellness
There are many ways to achieve physical wellness. Some people choose to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly. Others may focus on getting enough sleep or managing their stress levels. Whatever approach you take, remember that physical wellness is a journey, not a destination.
There is no “perfect” way to be physically well; the goal is simply to find what works best for you and make it part of your regular routine. Below are some goals for achieving physical wellness.
Understand How Your Body Works
One of the most important things you can do for your physical wellness is to understand how your body works, such as learning about the different systems in your body and how they work together. What makes your body feel good? What causes physical distress?
Understanding how your body works can help you set limits and stretch them. Wellness and recovery complement each other, and being in touch with your body is essential.
Feel Competent at Physical Activities
Walking, running, and lifting weights without feeling overwhelmed or out of breath is a confidence booster and first-hand evidence that you are improving your physical wellness. The ability to use your body in different ways helps increase self-confidence and raises self-esteem, two important elements for a successful recovery.
Develop Well-Balanced and Healthy Eating Habits
Developing well-balanced and healthy eating habits is another key component of physical wellness. This entails eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods and avoiding processed foods as much as possible. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products are all essential to a healthy diet.
Multiple studies have found a significant link between fresh fruits and vegetables and increased happiness, mental health, and well-being. 1
Become a Responsible Drinker or a Non-Drinker
Drinking responsibly and not overindulging in alcohol and other substances are important steps towards being physically healthy. If you have a substance abuse problem, we can help you on the road to recovery.
Develop and Cultivate Leisure Activities
Enjoying life is truly a notable road to recovery and happiness. Engaging in hobbies like reading, hiking, biking, or swimming is a great way to take care of yourself. It’s important to find things you enjoy and make time for them in your schedule.
Seek Medical Care When Needed
Going to the doctor for regular check-ups, getting vaccinated, and seeing the dentist at least every six months are essential to achieving physical wellness, physical well-being, and better health outcomes. One of the best ways to take care of our physical health is to seek medical care when needed. This might seem like an obvious statement, but it is common for people to tough it out when feeling under the weather.
Whether it’s a cold, the flu, or something more serious, it’s important to see a doctor when you’re not feeling your best. Not only will this help you to get better sooner, but it will also help you avoid potential complications down the road.
Physical Wellness in Addiction Recovery
Physical activity is an important part of any addiction recovery plan. It can help you cope with cravings, manage triggers, and improve overall health. If you’re struggling with addiction, physical activity can be a great way to start your journey to recovery.
Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you get started, such as fitness programs specifically designed for people in addiction recovery. Talk to your doctor or a treatment professional about how physical activity can help you on your road to recovery.
Relationship Between Physical Wellness and Recovery
It’s well-known that maintaining physical wellness is important for overall health and physical well-being. However, many people don’t realize that physical wellness is also critical for recovery from substance abuse and addiction and that there is a connection between wellness and recovery.
Ways Physical Wellness Can Support Recovery
Several ways that physical wellness can support recovery are listed below.
- Release Endorphins: Exercising releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting and pain-relieving effects. Endorphins can help manage anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that often accompany addiction.
- Reduce Cravings: Cravings can significantly impact the recovery process, as the stronger the cravings are, the more challenging it is to abstain from the substance. Physical activities and exercise can keep the mind occupied and increase feelings of well-being, reducing cravings.
- Improve Sleep: Exercise reduces anxiety and stress and releases feel-good chemicals in the brain. This combination can help you fall asleep faster and improve your quality of sleep.
- Boost Self-Esteem: Taking care of your body can help to boost self-esteem and provide a sense of accomplishment, both of which are essential for sustaining long-term recovery and physical well-being.
Benefits of Physical Wellness in Addiction Recovery
Physical wellness is important not only for addiction recovery, but for life in general. Here are five benefits of physical wellness to consider:
- Improves Mental Health: When you take care of your body, you’re also taking care of your mind. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects that can aid negative moods that can occur during recovery.
- Eases Withdrawal Symptoms: Exercise can help ease the uncomfortable physical symptoms of withdrawal and detox.
- Prompts Social Connections: Joining a sports team, taking a dance class, or working out at the gym are all great ways to meet new people and connect with others in a healthy and sustainable way.
- Strengthens Immune System: A healthy body is better able to fight off infection and disease. Exercise increases immune system function and strength. Research shows that people who exercise regularly are less likely to get sick and have less-severe symptoms. 2
- Aids in Relapse Prevention: Staying active in addiction recovery can help reduce relapse by giving you a sense of purpose and something to focus on other than drugs or alcohol.
Physical Activities That Are Helpful for Addiction Recovery
There are many physical activities that can aid recovery; these will be detailed below.
Walking is a simple and effective way to begin an exercise program. Walking helps reduce stress, improve mood, sleep quality, and increase energy levels. One study found that people who attended a walking/running training program reported a greater sense of motivation, accomplishment, and belonging. 3
Hiking and Jogging
Hiking and jogging are also great exercises for recovery, as they can help to build stamina and strength. Hiking takes you away from everyday stressors and immerses you in nature, improving your mental well-being.
Tai Chi and Yoga
Tai Chi and yoga are both excellent for promoting relaxation and mindfulness. Research suggests that Tai Chi can effectively improve psychological well-being by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression and enhancing mood. 4
Exercise and Addiction Recovery
Addiction recovery isn’t just about quitting drugs or alcohol; it’s also about improving mental and physical health and well-being. Exercise is a great way to get your body healthy and prevent future addiction. Maintaining fitness to live a healthy life and avoid relapse is important.
Here are five ways that exercise can help with recovery:
Increases Energy Level
When you’re feeling low, it can be hard to muster up the energy to do anything. Exercise can help give you that boost you need to get going.
Reduces Drug Cravings
Research provides evidence that exercise can help reduce cravings for drugs and alcohol.
Exercise is a great way to release pent-up tension and stress. It can also act as a coping mechanism to help manage stressful situations in the future.
Helps to Sleep Better
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for recovery. Exercise can help to improve your quality of sleep.
Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. Regular production of endorphins through routine exercise can increase physical and mental wellness.
Physical Wellness as a Potential Treatment for Drug Addiction
It’s no secret that drug addiction is a major problem in the United States. In 2020, an estimated 59.3 million people aged twelve or older used illicit drugs, with 40.3 million having a substance use disorder. 5
While there are many different approaches to treating drug addiction, one promising method is physical wellness. Maintaining physical wellness and regular exercise can help reduce cravings and improve mental health, both of which are important factors in recovery.
Is Physical Wellness a Standalone Treatment for Addiction?
While physical wellness has many benefits, it is not a standalone treatment. Physical wellness is an excellent supplementary treatment to other therapies and medications. By taking care of your body, you can give yourself the best chance at a successful recovery.
Find the Right Treatment for You at Essence Healthcare
If you’re struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Essence Healthcare offers a variety of therapies and programs to provide you with a personalized treatment plan to address your situation and meet your needs. Our experienced and highly qualified team is here to support and guide you throughout your recovery journey.
Contact us today to learn more about our programs and how we can help you live a healthy, substance-free life.