Running as an Addiction Recovery Tool

Who actually likes running? I didn’t, I even bought a shirt that says ” I hate running” to wear while I run. In fact, the only reason I started running was because I promised my sponsor that I would. I promised to run twice a week for a month.

That first run was miserable. I had permanent RBF the entire run. At the end of, when I finally stopped, I noticed I wasn’t anxious anymore. That provided motivation for the second run.

By the end of the month, I had developed a serious love-hate relationship with running. I knew if I did it I would feel better, but I didn’t want to do it in the first place.

One month turned into 6 before I even realized it. Now 4 years later I have my Fitbit, running shoes, running pants, a specific running bra…etc. the point is running quickly became a part of my life that I have grown to love.

Now I’m not some competition runner or anything. I literally just plug in my ear buds and run up my own road when I’m stressed out. It really and truly alleviates stress. want to know how? Keep reading!

10 Ways Running Aids Recovery and Relieves Stress:

  1. Norepinephrine: Running or even jogging increases norepinephrine which helps manage the brains response to stress. It’s like a natural antidepressant.
  2. Vitamin D: no I don’t mean that kind of D. I mean the one that your body produces when it’s exposed to sun. This vitamin actually aids in depression and anxiety.
  3. Boost brain performance: cardiovascular exercise causes an increase of brain deprived protein that causes the hippocampus to function at a higher rate. This helps with decision making, higher thinking, and learning.
  4. Helps alleviate insomnia: your body is programmed to get sleepy during certain times. Running raises your core temperature. Once that temperature drops back down 3-4 hours later your body will naturally get sleepy.
  5. Lowers cortisol levels: cardiovascular exercise actually causes your body to produce endorphins which lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is the chemical that makes you grumpy, bloated, and fat.
  6. Encourages blood flow to brain: in doing that it actually helps to keep your energy levels up. Running 2-3 times a week will have you feeling more energetic even on days you don’t run.
  7. Provides a positive outlet: let’s face it as former addicts we all know what choosing the wrong outlet can do. Going for a run to blow off steam is definitely the better option.
  8. Boosts self esteem: I know when I first stopped using my self esteem was at an all time low. I hated myself for what I had become. Running got me back in shape and looking healthy again. Which greatly boosted my self esteem.
  9. Repairs the neurotransmitters in the brain: depending on what substance you were using you may have damage the receptors for dopamine and serotonin. Running is proven to repair that damage.
  10. Decreases cravings: when your body begins functioning correctly again it doesn’t crave the unhealthy like it used to. I’m not saying you will never want to use again. I am saying that you won’t want to use as often though.

There you have it 10 amazing reasons to add running to your recovery program. If you don’t believe me ask around in your next meeting. I guarantee you will be told its true!

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