22 Oct Exercise and Addiction

The path to addiction recovery is a long one that is filled with trials and, most likely, errors. In order to have the most effective experience and get your life back on the track that it is meant to be in, it is important to use multiple tools that can help you accomplish this. Being physically active is incredible important, as is building some semblance of structure in your life. These reasons make exercise an obvious choice to have in your arsenal of fulfillment that will help you kick addiction and reinvent yourself. Here are several reasons why exercise can be a powerful tool in addiction recovery…

Improves confidence

One tremendous benefit of exercise is that it makes you feel better about yourself, especially if you do it relatively frequently. This instills a self-confidence that is absolutely crucial for the road to recovery. Such confidence helps to restore your self-worth, which gives you a much better outlook on life and your ability to fight addiction. Exercise can also make you a lot less stressed, and can help you be relaxed during down times when you might get tense and feel a tendency to give into addiction’s hold. All of these benefits will work together to give you more emotional energy to tackle the challenge of addiction, and makes you less likely to relapse once you have restored your confidence in yourself


When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that work to give you a natural sort of “high.” These endorphins help restore a healthy chemical balance in your brain that works to make you feel high amounts of pleasure and happiness, but without the destructive and apathetic nature of substance abuse. Endorphins also work to give you satisfaction in things that you do, as they don’t produce an emotional imbalance, such as illicit drugs often do.

Keeps you focused

Exercise gives you something to take your mind off of things for a brief period of time. This mental recharge period can be very helpful to keep up your strength and willpower. Building structure and routine back into your life through exercise can be a very powerful tool, as well. Your time spent exercising will also make you more determined in all aspects of your life, which gives you an edge in fighting addiction. Also, similar to each step on a treadmill, if you can keep up with an exercise routine and not stray from it, it will help make each step on the road to recovery seem like much less of a leap.

Mike Keenan is a Licensed Substance Use Disorder Counselor (LSUDC) and is continuing his education by pursuing a degree in Social Work at the University of Utah. Mike began his career in 2008 working in youth residential treatment. Soon after, he identified his passion for working with the adult population suffering from addiction and chemical dependency and transitioned into adult residential, in-patient, and out-patient treatment. Mike has excelled in a variety of supervisory and director level positions, and is currently succeeding as the Director of Client Relations at Therápia. In addition, Mike has been practicing as a Certified Equine Specialist, using the EAGALA Model, since 2008. Using the EAGALA model, he works in a team to facilitate Equine Psychotherapy and Equine Life-skills sessions. Mike grew up in St. George Utah and has always taken advantage of the wide array of outdoor and recreational activities Southern Utah provides. He has capitalized on his love for and expertise in the stunning surrounding environment to facilitate experiential therapy and metaphorical learning.
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