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The federal government’s health guidelines state that healthy adults can reduce the risk of many chronic health issues with at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. Some of these health conditions include mood disorders, like depression and anxiety. Exercise has consistently been shown to moderate brain chemistry, improve mood, and balance mood swings.
Addiction is a disease of the brain, which involves compulsive consumption of intoxicating substances, which change brain chemistry. The condition is caused by a complex relationship between genetics, family history, environment, and mental health. When a person enters a rehabilitation program to overcome their addiction, they need as much support and as many tools as possible to maintain their long-term health and sobriety.
As the link between mental and physical health is becoming better understood, more rehabilitation programs are incorporating exercise, fitness trainers, and physical fitness instructors into their therapy programs. Alongside individual and group therapy, fitness trainers can help people recovering from addiction develop healthy habits, improve their physical and mental health, and raise their self-esteem, among many other benefits.
Fitness trainers can offer a variety of exercise classes to those in rehabilitation programs. Some of the most popular exercise programs at treatment centers across the country include:
Exercise Programs in Treatment
Whether in a rehabilitation program or in the outside world, working with a fitness trainer helps a person understand their current physical health and create a plan for where they want their health to be. A professional, certified fitness instructor or trainer gathers information about the person’s current physical health state, including weight, body mass index, endurance, strength, and existing exercise routine. Then, the trainer will help their client create a plan, which includes short-term and long-term goals. The plan will outline weekly goals, daily exercise routines, and may include changes to diet to help improve physical fitness (such as adding more lean protein and taking away simple carbohydrates). The trainer supports their client’s success with positive reinforcement and other motivational techniques.
In rehabilitation, a fitness trainer can offer many benefits to people working toward addiction recovery. Exercise affects both mental and physical health, which can bolster recovery. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that their studies show exercise, when partnered with psychotherapy, can help people quit smoking and maintain abstinence from cigarettes. NIDA suggests that exercise can help reduce relapse rates in addiction treatment for other substances too.
When a person in rehabilitation works with a fitness instructor, they can experience various benefits, such as:
Many rehabilitation programs offer exercise programs and fitness instructors as part of their overall program. When combined with psychotherapy and psychiatric medications as necessary, regular exercise can be very helpful in moderating brain chemistry, improving physical health, reducing cravings, and improving abstinence rates.