The Critical Role of Exercise and Nutrition in Recovery
By Jardine Espinos, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist at Master Center
When you’re on your journey of recovery, exercise and nutrition become powerful tools that can be used to increase your mood, increase energy, and reduce stress. In active addiction, we put our bodies through stress and malnutrition. With good nutrition, making healthy choices, and staying disciplined, however, you can start healing your body from the inside out.
The benefits of healthy eating and nutrition can include better memory, improved mood, increased energy, stronger immune systems, and reduction in risk of many serious health issues and diseases. Research shows that exercise releases endorphins to the body creating a natural high. These are the same type of endorphins people have released when they are abusing substances. By exercising during recovery, it helps a person reintroduce healthy endorphins back into their body.
Here are some ways exercise can benefit recovery:
- Improved Mood: Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, providing feelings of happiness and well being. In fact, 30-minutes of exercise daily is enough to make positive changes in mood. This is a natural way to produce those feel-good chemicals that were sought artificially in drugs.
- Stress Reduction: Stress can be a big problem in recovery and can lead to relapse. Physical activity releases feel good endorphins in the brain and improves circulation. Both help with stress!
- Better Sleep: Having sleep problems is very common in recovery. Exercising on a regular basis can improve the quality and quantity of sleep.
- Stronger Immune System: Regular exercise helps protect your body from many serious health issues such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, depression, and osteoporosis.
- Relapse Prevention: Regular exercise can help manage stress, depression, and anxiety which all big factors in drug and alcohol abuse.
While exercise and nutrition cannot be the only treatment for recovery, it can play a critical role and make a positive impact throughout the recovery journey.
Jardine Espinos is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist at Master Center for Addiction Medicine. Prior to working at Master Center, Jardine worked at a local Recovery Community Organization, the Willingness Foundation, as the Head Recovery Coach and Office Manager. Her passion in life is helping others achieve recovery and lead happy and healthy lives. Jardine’s past experiences and history with addiction makes her an asset in assisting and guiding individuals struggling with addiction. In her free time, she enjoys cross fit, strength training and living a healthy lifestyle.