Exercise can be a helpful tool when recovering from an addiction, as it provides a way for you to keep busy and be healthy. According to Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, exercise can help relieve stress and reduce depression, both factors that can help reduce the rate of addiction. Exercise releases endorphins, which can elevate your mood and make you feel more confident in your recovery and help you to succeed.

Finding positive ways to fill your time after going through treatment for an addiction can help your recovery be successful. Exercise provides you with a way to feel better physically, and to help deal with the negative emotions that are often attached to recovery. You may find that taking a few minutes every day to include any type of exercise will aid in your ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The type of exercise that you do depends on the level of activity that you are physically able to handle, the kind of exercises that you enjoy and choosing the type that you will be able to stick with. You may find a combination of cardio, strength training and stretching workouts can provide you with the physical and mental stimulation that keeps you focused on your path to recovery.

Following an exercise routine when recovering from addiction lets you fill the space that was once occupied by bad habits with healthy habits. Time spent out on a bike ride, at the gym or on a trail means you're not spending that time at peer-pressure-filled bars or parties. It is important in recovery to find healthy alternatives to whatever bad habit to which you were accustomed.

Dr. Volkow also notes that positive social interactions and staving off boredom are keys to successful addiction recovery. Exercise in a group setting, such as group runs or yoga, can provide a sober social setting, which improves the chance that recovery will be permanent. Once you start to feel better about yourself and start to experience the effects of exercise, you will be more likely to continue in your recovery and start to feel like you are able to succeed.

Exercise works in a number of ways to help you feel better. Mark A. Smith, professor of neuroscience at Davidson University, notes that exercise actually mimics a lot of the same effects that drugs have on the brain, because exercise stimulates certain neurochemicals that sense pleasure.

The different exercises that you do can have varied effects on your recovery. Cardio exercise can help you have more energy, burn fat and lose weight. Strength training exercises can help you develop muscle and increase your metabolism. You can try stretching exercises such as yoga and Pilates to quiet your mind and energize your body through sequential postures and breathing exercises.

Exercise can help prevent relapsing by giving you the strength that you need to stay away from your addictions. When your body is strong, and your mind is clear and open, you are able to find other positive ways to expend your energy.

Exercise is not the only way that you are going to be successful in your recovery, and it is important to continue any other treatment that you are receiving. It can be a tool that you can have to aid in your recovery and stay on the right path.

FOXNews.com: Exercise and Addiction [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,364943,00.html]
Newsweek: Helping Addiction with Exercise [http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/the-human-condition/2009/06/29/from-excess-to-exercise-group-helps-men-and-women-live-sober-through-sweat.html]

Author's Bio: 

Kristi Abbott, owner of BodySava, is a freelance writer who is experienced in health and healing topics. She owns a reflexology business and also teaches Yoga in recovery programs. Her main areas of focus include natural healing, holistic treatments, bodywork and yoga. She has been writing freelance articles since 2008 and earned her license in reflexology in 2006.