A “fun run” might not sound like a fun way to spend your day, but speed walking and running are excellent forms of exercise for their numerous mental and physical benefits. Everyone needs to keep active to stay healthy, and if you’re considering new ways to exercise, running might be right for you.
When exercising, your body releases endorphins: neurochemicals that trigger pleasure and reduce pain. A “runner’s high” is the feeling produced by a rush of endorphins in the brain after physical activity. Eating and having sex may also prompt a release of the neurochemical. Unlike the manufactured high felt after a dose of certain drugs, a “runner’s high” is naturally occurring and can be replicated without having to increase speed or distance of running. Levels of endorphins may drop after repeated drug or alcohol abuse, however. Electro-acupuncture, a new treatment for individuals recovering from heroin addiction, triggers endorphin release, bringing the body to a state of natural euphoria that eases symptoms of withdrawal. In addition to feeling the effects of endorphins, finishing a run will instill you with the positive feeling associated with accomplishment.
Long-term drug or alcohol abuse likely caused you to maintain unhealthy eating and exercise habits. Many people live a sedentary lifestyle while struggling with SUD, thus muscles deteriorate due to low use. To regain strength, start with combination workouts that include intervals of running and walking. Soon, you should be able to transition to running-only workouts. Going for a jog is an easy way to get outside and breathe some fresh air. Not only will your legs and core muscles get stronger, but your heart will also enjoy the workout (it’s a muscle, too!). Increasing cardiovascular fitness through running will increase lung and heart capability. While running is a great endurance workout, there are many other activities that can increase strength if you have problems with your joints or lung capacity. Biking, hiking, and swimming are a few examples of activities that can give your heart a solid workout.
At Avalon Malibu, we want you to be an active participant in your recovery. Taking up running and other forms of physical activity can be a great way to supplement the care you receive at Avalon. Our dedicated team of mental health professionals will equip you with the right tools to restructure your diet and exercise routine. Our commitment to offering diverse treatment options means that each person can enjoy a unique rehabilitation experience tailored to their individual needs. If you are interested in a consultation, call us today at (844) 857-5992.