How Physical Fitness Helps with Addiction Recovery

Regular exercise isn’t a panacea that miraculously cures all physical and mental ailments, but doctors and experts agree that even a small amount of physical activity each day does improve the mental and physical damages caused by substance abuse. A growing body of research indicates that incorporating exercise into treatment recovery programs overwhelmingly benefits recovering addicts.  

How exercise helps

Regularly scheduled exercise provides an outlet that reduces stress and anxiety, replacing negative or harmful activities with positive ones through consistent structure. Exercise helps to restore and repair your body’s immune system and other systems damaged by substance abuse.

Exercise provides a sense of accomplishment and even pleasure, because it releases endorphins—neurotransmitters that help relieve pain and make you feel pleasure or euphoria. While drug use also releases these neurotransmitters, exercise provides a much a healthier way to feel their effects. Substance abuse disorders (SUDs) damage serotonin and dopamine receptors, and exercise can repair them, which renews their ability to boost your sense of well-being and emotional stability. Physical activity also activates galanin, a brain-based chemical that reduces some stress-related cravings.  

Exercise improves brain function by facilitating the repair and formation of additional neurons, improving communication between neurons, and increasing the production of blood vessels responsible for transporting oxygen to your brain.

Many recovering addicts struggle with sleeping, but exercise can improve your sleep, too. The National Sleep Foundation conducted a study that supports research suggesting that people sleep better and feel more alert if they engage in at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week.

Exercise: Think outside the box

The best thing about exercise is that it doesn’t have to include a membership to the gym—although if that’s your thing, go for it! But whether you’re pumping iron, taking a spin class, or hiking through the woods, talk to doctor before you start an exercise program.

You definitely want to take it easy on your body if it’s recovering from physical damage caused by substance abuse, and if you’ve lived a more sedentary lifestyle recently, you may want to consider alternative physical activities—like breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga—to start.

Yoga connects your body and mind by teaching and encouraging you to use meditation to tune into yourself, focus on the present, and release worries and struggles (even if only briefly). It provides an outlet to calm your mind and find alternatives that help you think your way past temptation and identify and address triggers or cravings. If you’re a beginner, look for a class in your area. Or practice yoga and meditation in your own home with these online resources from Yoga Journal.

Walk, run, or  hike. You’ll raise your self-esteem and increase your energy because you’ll be working on your mobility and flexibility, while lowering blood pressure and improving your circulation with even just low-impact cardio. An added bonus: Recent studies have shown that spending time in nature can change (i.e., heal) your brain.

Swimming provides another great way to exercise a body that’s in extensive pain or has suffered significant damage from SUD. Water provides a buoyant, low-impact environment in which to stretch and gently exercise with less pressure on muscles and joints. Water also provides a very soothing, relaxing environment.

Gardening is low impact and easily adaptable, and it requires that you spend time in the sunshine where you’ll get plenty of vitamin D, which boosts your immune system.  Its added bonus? When you plant and incorporate fruits and/or vegetables into your meals, you’ll eat healthier.

Dance invites you to get lost in the music and the beat. It’s liberating, gets your heart pumping, and increases energy and flexibility.

Maintain a healthy routine for long-term recovery

Regardless of what exercise you choose—or whether you mix in a variety of physical activities—incorporating even just 15 to 30 minutes of daily activity has innumerable benefits.

Exercise relieves stress, lowers blood pressure, facilitates physical healing, boosts your mood and creativity, reduces your risk of chronic disease, and even mitigates brain damage—a much healthier outlet to helping you better manage your triggers, cravings, and stressors as you recover from SUD.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

How Can Exercise and BrainTap Help You Have Your Best Year Yet?

Got the Holiday Blues?  Depression . . . Stress . . . Anxiety? This can be a very difficult time of year for many of us. But exercise and BrainTap Technologies can offer you HOPE (excerpt below from

For many of the millions of people suffering from depression, stress, and unhealthy lifestyles, exercise can help. In recent years, many healthcare professionals have focused efforts on discovering the possibilities of using exercise as a form of treatment for depression. Due to the increased “feel good” endorphins that exercise releases, people tend to be happier and feel more relaxed after they workout.

Some people also use exercise as a form of distraction. Being able to take your mind off of what is causing stress, for even a short amount of time, can help eliminate much of the anxiety that comes along with stress, ultimately decreasing those stress hormones and bringing your body back into balance.

Exercise is a great way to stay level and balanced during the holidays, but the problem usually lies in the lack of time people have during these times. Fortunately, there is a solution!

Braintapping for 20-minutes a day can significantly decrease your stress, help you get back to and maintain a healthy lifestyle, drop those unwanted pounds, and help to increase endorphins allowing for a less stressful, more enjoyable holiday!

With BrainTap, the Just Do It! session, located in the Vibrant Health series, can help you get back on track with exercise so that you can live a longer, happier, and healthier life, starting today! Also, check out the Exercising is Energizing session located in the series, Habits of Naturally Thin People 01 – 15 and Exercise – Your Key to Lasting Health and Vitality located in Habits of Naturally Thin People 16 – 30 to get you started on the right track.

Don’t let the holidays get you down this year. Let BrainTap help you overcome the holiday blues. Check out their website at

If you like what you learn, we offer these at Living Well Dallas for the same cost as you pay through BrainTap Technologies’ website.  BUT, we give you more FREE  PROGRAMS than you would receive from them.  They make great Christmas gifts.  See all the different programs you can choose to listen too.  There is almost 800 of them!

To purchase or inquire more, call 972-930-0260.

Is City Life throwing off your balance?

Brenda with Brain Tap
BrainTap device

Do you ever have a chance to get out in nature?  Or are you stuck in a city life that has you in a continual rat race?  Do you ever see trees, grass and lakes or just concrete and tall buildings?

Check out this article and ask yourself if our BrainTap experience at Living Well Dallas may be just what you need to bring you back into balance with nature.  It’s an easy way to get centered again . . . Read More



Learn from your cat

Take a lesson from your cat. Have you noticed that when cats wake up they stretch? When you awake in the morning, you’ve probably been sleeping in some funny position all night or for too long. To get your spine in correct alignment before getting out of bed, start this habit.

Raise your hands above your head, point your toes, and stretch for a count of 10. Then, roll over on your side, bend your knees and push up (rather than coming straight up). Place both feet on the floor, put your hands on your knees, giving yourself some leverage, and push on your knees to help yourself stand up with less stress to your spine.

This is how I encourage my clients to arise in the morning and any time they are getting up from a chair or out of their car, etc. It encourages your body to be symmetrical. It is also how I have them get off the table after a Bowen Therapy session. In addition, putting both feet on the floor simultaneously after therapy makes a neurological impression, or blueprint, of the session, potentially causing it to last longer.