Choose An Alcohol Treatment Center With A Structured Exercise Program

Posted on: 30 April 2015

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As you begin to consider inpatient alcohol treatment centers, look for those that include exercise as part of the initial recovery plan. As you become accustomed to participating in a structured daily exercise program, you reap benefits that are helpful not only for enhancing health but also for preventing relapse.

Benefits of Exercise for Recovery

Adding Structure to Your Days

During inpatient rehab, your days have a schedule that helps keep your mind off alcohol and gives you ideas for creating that structure when you're back home. You'll need activities to fill time you used to spend at bars or drinking in front of the TV set. 

Participating in your own daily exercise program can provide a rewarding replacement for drinking. Instead of leaving work and heading to the local watering hole, you might:

  • go to a fitness center
  • take an hour-long walk or hike
  • ride your bike
  • take a class in an activity such as yoga or martial arts
  • participate in a league or intramural sport

You may need to be cautious about league and intramural sports since teams often go out socializing after games, and that socializing may revolve around taverns. Look for recreational groups that have a focus on staying clean and sober.

Enjoying Better Sleep

If you're accustomed to alcohol sedation inducing sleep, you might have trouble sleeping for a while. Daily exercise can tire out your body enough so that you sleep better than you ever did while drinking. The sedating effects of alcohol do help people fall asleep, but waking up during the night is common with excessive drinking. 

Having Another Reason to Stay Sober

As you become more physically fit and more passionate about your favorite athletic activity, you'll have one more reason to stay sober in addition to the reasons that led you to enter rehab. You need to be on top of your game, so to speak, to excel at any physical activity. Set goals for yourself such as participating in a 5K walk for charity or going on a weekend group bike ride.

Experiencing Mood Enhancement

Exercise boosts levels of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters known as endorphins. These chemicals create positive feelings that actually are similar to the effects of opiates. It's the brain's way of producing a natural high.

What to Look for in a Rehab Center

Look for rehab centers that offer daily exercise as part of a structured schedule. The center might offer:

  • group aerobics
  • exercise classes
  • team sports
  • a fitness center with various types of workout equipment
  • indoor and outdoor challenge courses

Any of these features can be an integral part of your initial recovery. Talk to a rehab center like Pacific Ridge to learn more.