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How You Can Use Exercise to Help With Opioid Addiction

December 20, 2019

Fitness Can Be A Major Part of Your Addiction Treatment Plan

Just as addiction comes in many forms, so does recovery. These days, there are many options for opioid addiction treatment.

Did you know that exercise can be a main part of your opiate addiction treatment plan?

Recovery plans don't have to entail hospital beds, IV medicines and group therapy. Although these treatments can be beneficial in regimens, they aren't the only ways you can recover from opiate addiction.

Studies have shown that physical activity can go a long way in helping you to overcome drug addiction.

How does exercise help to treat opiate addiction?

Drug recovery programs strive to balance brain chemistry so that chemicals like dopamine are thriving. Dopamine is also known as a "happiness-inducing" chemical. Both drug and alcohol addictions interfere with the brain's ability to create and maintain dopamine.

One way that you can boost dopamine levels naturally is by exercising. It loads the brain up with dopamine and endorphins, allowing them to be released into the body. In other words, the more active you are, the better your mood will be.

For those with addiction issues, exercising offers another benefit as well.

Some studies have shown that increasing your physical activity can help to get your dopamine levels back to where they were before you used drugs.

Not to mention, as you develop a consistent exercise routine, you'll be able to keep your mind off of drugs.

Many drug rehabilitation programs are now including fitness as a part of their regular addiction treatment regimens.

If you think strenuous exercising isn't for you, you're in luck. There are many kinds of physical activity, and while some may be intense, others are more gentle.

Take a look at the following list of activities you may be able to perform in order to help you being or maintain sobriety.


Several drug treatment programs have yoga as a fitness option. There is an active or more strenuous yoga option for those wanting to strengthen their bodies. But there is also "restorative" yoga, which allows people to release anxiety and stress that may lead to relapse.

Walking & Hiking

If you're not into running, walking is another great exercise option. What's more, if you can talk a walk or even a hike outside, you'll also be getting a dose of sunshine. Being outdoors is another way to boos your dopamine levels. Something as simple as a 15-minutes walk can help you to reduce your drug cravings.


Strength Training

Lifting weights is certainly a way to increase dopamine in your brain. Also, if you suffer from insomnia that's gotten worse during recovery, weight training may be for you. Doing those exercises before bed can help your body to get back into a normal sleep cycle.


Playing Sports

Some treatment centers have the option to play team sports, which can be an excellent way to recover. Not only will you be getting your physical exercise, you'll also be building relationships with people who have been down similar roads. Playing sports can also help to boost your self-confidence, another factor that contributes to your overall mood.

To learn more about how exercise can enhance your opioid addiction treatment regimen, check out this article

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