Opioid Addiction Treatment and Exercise

Opioid Addiction Treatment & Exercise

Detoxing from opioids or heroin can be done effectively with medication-assisted treatment and counseling. In addition to professional care, exercise has been found to be beneficial in drug detox and the recovery process.

Opioid addiction causes havoc with the chemical balance in the brain. A person who has abused opiates has destroyed the body and brain’s production of “feel good” chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins. Because exercise will increase naturally the level of dopamine and endorphins in the body, exercise can be used during opioid detox and recovery to reduce withdrawal symptoms, cravings, help prevent relapse, and help provide a way to cope with triggers and reduce stress.

Exercise in general reduces stress, gives a natural high, improves sleep patterns, and promotes healthy living and confidence. Exercise requires discipline and is a source of encouragement of being in control of one’s body. Many types of exercise generate a support group of its own, giving opportunities to meet others of similar interests and encourage healthy relationships. These benefits of exercise also help in the fight against opioid abuse. Another benefit of exercise is that it will help fill the void of addiction and give a routine or focus not centered on drug use.

Exercise Activities

Depending where you are as far as being physically fit, here are just a few of the more popular addiction therapy exercises. It is important to mention that before starting any exercise activity, consult with your doctor about exercising during detox or the recovery process. Based on your health history and duration of substance abuse, the doctor will discuss with you the best exercise activities for you.


Yoga doesn’t require expensive equipment and can be practiced by anyone. Yoga is designed to bring mind and body closer together with the use of exercise, meditation, and breathing. The use of yoga not only can be used to increase physical stamina and strength, it can improve stress and anxiety levels and overall emotional healing. When starting yoga, it is helpful to find an introductory class or find a trained yoga instructor.


Walking is a good exercise for people of all ages and levels of fitness. Going on a walk can be an excellent thing to do to help with withdrawal symptoms, cravings, or to relieve stress. Obviously make sure your walking route does not take you to areas where previous drug use occurred or where drugs are easily available. If a supportive friend is available to walk with you, a brisk walk can be a great way to start your day and many find walking after work a real stress reliever. For those who love being outdoors and exploring, hiking gives a fresh perspective to any day.


Running is a good source of exercise for those more physically fit. Besides being a rewarding exercise that increases stamina and strengthening of the heart and respiratory system, mental health benefits include:

            Positive feelings known as a runner’s high

            Reduced every day depression common with opioid addiction 

            Feelings of being in control, giving greater hope for the future

            Clearer thinking

Weight Training

Weight bearing activity builds dopamine levels and releases endorphins. Lifting weights improves strength and gives confidence. Many begin to feel good and “amped up” with quick results. This reduces feelings of helplessness that are common with those struggling with opioid addiction. Of course, start small, and find a weight training expert to help you with your program.

At AMC, we focus on individual treatment plans that treat the whole person: mind, body, and soul. Our caring and experienced staff wants our patients to have the physical and emotional healing necessary for a healthy, productive life. Contact A.M.C. of Columbus or A.M.C. of Nashville today. Your call is confidential.

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