Get Active: Exercises for Addiction Recovery

Get Active: Exercises for Addiction Recovery

A long-term drug abuse or drinking problem can wreak havoc on your physical health. Because of this damage, recovery from a substance abuse problem involves more than just quitting. You want to get healthy again too, and one of the best ways to go about this is with exercise.

Benefits of Exercise for Addiction Recovery

Exercising is important for everyone, but for long-term drug users or alcoholics, there are several added benefits of exercise in addiction recovery.

Many long-term addicts have poor physical health from years of pumping their bodies with toxic drugs. Exercise not only helps people get physically fit, but for recovering addicts, it can help heal some of the damage that the drugs left behind. Exercise can also help relieve stress and boost a person’s mood. These mental health benefits can be especially important for recovering addicts who are struggling in early recovery. Exercise can also combat physical and mental withdrawal symptoms in early recovery; a regular exercise routine can keep the person busy to help them avoid relapse.

The Best Exercises for Recovery from Drugs & Alcohol

If you only recently completed a standard or luxury partial hospitalization program, your body is likely still healing. One of the best ways to help it along as well as to stay on track with your recovery journey is to get active. Below are some exercises for addiction recovery to get you started.


Yoga is a great exercise for addiction recovery because along with getting people moving, it also has some added mental health benefits. Yoga can decrease both stress and anxiety,1 common symptoms of someone in early recovery. Because of yoga’s great healing benefits, we incorporate it into our holistic addiction treatment and encourage patients to continue this exercise outside of treatment.


Swimming is a great exercise in recovery for the whole body that works out muscles you likely have been neglecting. It is also a low-impact workout that doesn’t strain your joints and is good for those who want to avoid injury. You can go as fast or as slow as you like and build yourself up to harder workouts.


While struggling with addiction, you may have let yourself go and your body could be in poor health. A good way to get your physical health back on track and to improve your cardiovascular health is walking or running. Start easy by going for long walks at a medium pace. Gradually work up to a brisk pace until you can start running. As you start to go harder, a runner’s high can offer a natural endorphin boost that could help replace some of the unnatural high from drugs that your body craves.

Team Sport

More fun than just running, team sports are a great exercise for sobriety. If your body is still recovering, try something lower impact such as table tennis or badminton. Once you are back in good health, you can move on to more strenuous or high-intensity sports if you like. Along with getting you active in a fun way, team sports have the added benefit of helping you meet people. Your old friends may still be involved with drugs or alcohol, so it is imperative that you make new friends that will support your sobriety. Team sports are a good way to meet people with at least one similar interest. Your local community likely has sports leagues for all ages and games.

While there are several exercises for addiction recovery that you can try, the most important thing is to get and stay active. Find something that you enjoy and stick to it. Also, be sure to work your way up to the harder and more strenuous exercises as healing from drugs and alcohol takes time. If you are struggling to keep a good exercise routine, ask a friend or family member to join you. With time, you will come to reap the many benefits of exercise in recovery, including a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Seaside Palm Beach is a luxury treatment center in South Florida that has been helping people overcome their addictions in comfort. If you or someone you care about is ready to take that first step to lasting sobriety, we are here to help.

Call us today at 561-677-9374 to learn more.



Harvard Health Publishing – Yoga for anxiety and depression

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