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HomeHealth & Fitness6 Ways Running Can Help During Addiction Rehab

6 Ways Running Can Help During Addiction Rehab

Addiction is a serious problem that affects millions of people worldwide. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 19.7 million Americans aged 12 and older had a substance use disorder in 2017. Addiction can have a significant impact on a person’s physical and mental health, social relationships, and overall quality of life. That’s why addiction rehab is essential for those who are struggling with addiction.

Rehabilitation centers offer a wide range of treatments and therapies to help individuals overcome their addiction and achieve long-term recovery. One such treatment that is gaining popularity among addiction rehab centers is running. Running is a form of physical exercise that can provide many benefits for those in addiction rehab. We spoke to the director of two Glendale rehab centers for their insight. In this article, we will explore three reasons why running can help during addiction rehab.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are two common factors that contribute to addiction. Many individuals turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with the stress and anxiety in their lives. However, this only provides temporary relief and can lead to addiction. Running can be an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety naturally.

When you run, your body releases endorphins, which are chemicals that reduce pain and increase pleasure. Endorphins are often referred to as “feel-good” chemicals because they can produce feelings of happiness and euphoria. Running also increases blood flow to the brain, which can improve your mood and help you feel more relaxed. This can be especially helpful for those who are in addiction rehab and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms or other negative emotions.

Additionally, running can help individuals focus on the present moment and take their minds off their worries. This can be a valuable skill for those in addiction rehab, as it can help them learn to cope with stress and anxiety without turning to drugs or alcohol.

Improve Physical Health

Addiction can take a toll on a person’s physical health. Individuals who struggle with addiction may neglect their health, including their diet and exercise routines. Running can be an effective way to improve physical health and recover from the physical effects of addiction.

Running is a form of cardiovascular exercise that can help improve heart health, lower blood pressure, and increase lung capacity. It can also help individuals maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

In addition to physical health benefits, running can also improve mental health. Studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce the risk of depression and anxiety and improve self-esteem. This can be especially important for individuals in addiction rehab, as they may have low self-esteem and may be struggling with negative emotions.

Sense of Accomplishment

Individuals in addiction rehab may struggle with feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. Running can be a way to promote a sense of accomplishment and boost self-confidence.

Setting running goals, such as running a certain distance or completing a race, can give individuals a sense of purpose and motivation. Achieving these goals can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost self-esteem. This can be especially important for individuals in addiction rehab, who may be struggling with low self-esteem and a lack of motivation.

Additionally, running can provide a sense of community and support. Many running groups and clubs exist, and participating in these groups can provide a sense of belonging and connection with others. This can be important for those in addiction rehab who may feel isolated or disconnected from others.

Provide Structure and Routine

Individuals in addiction rehab may struggle with creating structure and routine in their lives. Running can provide a consistent activity that can be incorporated into a daily routine. Establishing a regular running routine can help individuals stay on track and provide a sense of purpose and motivation. Having a routine can also help individuals maintain sobriety by reducing the risk of boredom and idle time.

Teach Coping Skills

Running can be challenging, and individuals who participate in regular running activities may develop skills that can help them cope with other challenges in life. Running can teach individuals how to set goals, develop discipline, and push through discomfort. These skills can be applied to other areas of life and can be particularly helpful in managing the challenges of addiction recovery.


Running can be a form of meditation and can promote mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment and observing one’s thoughts and feelings without judgment. Running can provide a physical activity that helps individuals stay present and focused. Practicing mindfulness can be a valuable tool in addiction recovery, as it can help individuals stay in the moment and manage difficult emotions without turning to drugs or alcohol.

In conclusion, running can provide a wide range of benefits for individuals in addiction rehab. It can reduce stress and anxiety, improve physical and mental health, promote a sense of accomplishment, provide structure and routine, teach coping skills, and promote mindfulness. If you are in addiction rehab, consider incorporating running into your treatment plan. Rehab centers may offer running programs or access to nearby running trails, so be sure to ask your treatment provider for more information.


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