Exercise is an essential part of our partial hospitalization program (PHP) at Vertava Health of Massachusetts. Maintaining physical health restores the body after the devastating effects of drug or alcohol abuse. It replaces substance use with a natural way of uplifting a person’s mood.
Exercise Therapy At Vertava Health of Massachusetts
Exercise therapy helps people heal from addiction by building healthy habits. We encourage recovering individuals to continue regular exercise after they complete residential addiction treatment at Vertava Health of Massachusetts.
Everyone in our partial hospitalization program receives a paid membership to the local YMCA. This gives them access to a range of exercise equipment and fitness programs.
The gym membership—along with outings like rock climbing—promotes physical activity that keeps the body and minds healthy.
In our inpatient rehab program, residents have ample opportunity to exercise through sports like volleyball, disc golf, and tennis.
We also provide exercise therapy through yoga. This natural stress-management technique involves stretching, relaxation, and mindful movement.
Individuals can still participate in many of these activities on their own time during our partial hospitalization program. Regular exercise is a vital part of a substance-free lifestyle that those in recovery can continue when they return home.
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Benefits Of Exercise In Addiction Treatment
Many people do not exercise when they are suffering from addiction. Lack of movement, paired with substance abuse (and usually poor nutrition), weakens the immune system and overall functioning of the body and mind.
This can have serious short- and long-term effects on physical and mental health. Fortunately, exercise can reverse many of the negative consequences of substance abuse.
Exercise Promotes Physical Health
Alcohol and many drugs affect the heart, raising someone’s risk of a heart attack or heart disease. Exercise has been proven to improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Many people smoke drugs like crack cocaine or methamphetamine. Smoking is harmful to the lungs, but exercise cleans the lungs and may help reduce the damage.
When someone exercises, their lungs take in more oxygen, which the heart pumps throughout the body. The more someone exercises, the stronger their heart and lungs become.
More oxygen in the body helps the muscles, joints, and brain perform better, too. Exercise also helps a person sleep better, which is crucial for physical and mental restoration.
Exercise Improves Mental Health
Substance abuse has a profound effect on the brain and can even change its structure.
When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the brain forms connections that reinforce substance use. This decreases the brain’s natural efficiency in regulating emotion and activity.
As a result, addiction can cause or worsen mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Research shows that exercise reduces stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that can aggravate a person’s mental state. It also produces endorphins, which lift a person’s mood by relieving stress and pain.
Some substances of abuse damage a person’s memory and learning ability. Regular exercise promotes the growth of new brain cells to improve cognitive function in these areas.
Exercise Replaces Substance Use
Most drugs increase the presence of dopamine, a chemical that is part of the brain’s reward system. Elevated levels of dopamine produce a sense of wellbeing and euphoria.
Exercise raises dopamine levels and helps the brain relearn to regulate dopamine without drugs or alcohol. A person who normally turns to substance abuse to feel better can find the same pleasure and relief through exercise.
Without an alternative to substance use, many people relapse. The goal of addiction treatment is to prevent relapse by providing tools and encouraging a healthier lifestyle.
Regular exercise is a long-term solution to many of the issues that people use drugs or alcohol to fix temporarily.
To learn more about our partial hospitalization program and exercise therapy at Vertava Health of Massachusetts, speak with one of our treatment specialists today.