Guardian IOP Focused Treatment
Fitness Programs

Fitness and Addiction Recovery

Active addiction impacts the physical body, the mind and the spirit. It takes a major toll on the person as a whole, devastating health and well-being comprehensively. Because of this, it is crucial that addiction treatment focuses on restoring physical, emotional and psychological health. At Guardian IOP we offer a range of personalized Fitness Programs, geared towards restoring physical health and teaching each client the skills he or she needs to maintain a structured fitness routine on his or her own.

When it comes to exercise and addiction recovery, there are many proven benefits. An article published by Harvard Medical School titled, “Can exercise help conquer addiction?” suggests that several studies show a link between increased physical exertion and decreased psychological cravings.  The article also notes that a structured exercise regime proves to be the most beneficial when combined with intensive behavioral therapy, 12-step program immersion and Medication Assisted Treatment (whenever necessary). At Guardian IOP we offer a comprehensive curriculum of clinical care that focuses on all of the above, while catering to the unique needs and requirements of each individual client.

Benefits of Exercise in Addiction Treatment

Some of the proven benefits of exercise as part of an inclusive addiction recovery program include:

  • A focus on fitness provides a healthy distraction from psychological cravings – An article published by the US National Library of Medicine titled, “Exercise as a Potential Treatment for Drug Abuse: Evidence from Preclinical Studies” suggests that regular exercise effectively reduces drug-seeking behaviors. Working out actually has a neurological impact similar to that caused by using chemical substances – dopamine and serotonin are released into the brain, and psychological cravings are diminished as a result.
  • Exercise helps alleviate symptoms associated with anxiety and depression – Many of our clients suffer from a dual diagnosis disorder, meaning that they have an underlying mental illness (like anxiety or depression) as well as a substance use disorder. Exercising regularly has proven to reduce symptoms associated with both of these conditions by releasing endorphins, breaking negative thought cycles, facilitating social interaction and helping clients gain confidence in themselves.

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  • Workouts help to structure the day – Structure is very important to long-term success in sobriety. Having a daily fitness routine is an excellent way to structure the day and help clients consistently get started on the right foot. Clients learn how to keep themselves accountable while building self-esteem in the process.
  • Exercising regularly in a group setting helps facilitate the development of healthy social connections – We offer a range of fitness classes and groups in which clients have the ability to work together and encourage one another. Peer support is vital to the continuation of recovery, and exercise helps clients develop the skills and tools they need to motivate one another and themselves in a safe and structured setting.
  • Exercise is a great method of stress reduction – The Anxiety and Depression Association of America confirms that regular exercise is crucial to stress management, and that even as little as five minutes of aerobic exercise every day can effectively reduce anxiety levels. Stress affects the brain, and the rest of the body suffers the consequences. When the body is healthy and strong, the mind is likely to follow suit.
  • Daily exercise helps to facilitate regular sleeping patterns – Many men and women who are new to sobriety struggle with falling asleep at a reasonable hour or waking up on time in the morning. The endorphins that are released during exercise help individuals get a better night’s sleep, which can have a major impact on mental and emotional well-being. Additionally, seeing insomnia is a symptom commonly associated with post-acute withdrawal, exercise can serve as an effective and non-invasive alternative to prescription sleep aids.
  • Fitness helps regulate mood – Mood swings are another common symptom of post-acute withdrawal. Exercise boosts mood by releasing endorphins and reducing immune system chemicals that can lead to symptoms of depression. Research also shows that exercising regularly can have a long-term impact on mood regulation.
  • There are many lasting physical benefits – improving overall fitness can reverse the damage done by active addiction – Exercising regularly helps reduce the risk of heart disease, helps regulate blood pressure, reduces the risk of some cancers and even leads to increased longevity. While active addiction does take a major toll on the physical body (and all of the vital organs), engaging in a structured fitness program can help to restore health and repair existing damage.
  • Setting personal fitness goals helps clients build self-esteem – One of the best ways to build self-esteem and foster a sense of self-worth is by setting attainable personal goals. We teach our clients to set their own fitness goals and work towards these goals at a reasonable pace.

Fitness is a crucial component of every effective addiction recovery program. At Guardian IOP we take a whole-person approach to healing, focusing on physical, mental and emotional health thoroughly and simultaneously.

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Our Fitness Programs

At Guardian IOP we offer several different Fitness Programs, each tailored to meet the unique needs of every individual client. We combine traditional methods of exercise with holistic fitness approaches, like yoga. Our main priority is helping clients figure out what works for them. Not everyone likes going to the gym five times a week, just as not everyone likes practicing yoga for an hour every day. We give our clients the opportunity to explore and develop their own unique fitness routines over time.

fitness and addiction recovery

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The classes we offer include:

  • Group yoga classes facilitated by a licensed Yoga Therapist
  • Group workouts with an experienced fitness trainer
  • Outdoor exercise-oriented excursions
  • An introduction to pain management through stretching and massage

At Guardian IOP our main goal is setting clients up for success in sobriety once they transition out of our clinical program and return to fully independent living. Having a structured fitness routine in place is immensely beneficial, and can mean the difference between relapse and continued recovery.

The Importance of Physical Health

Many treatment programs focus exclusively on intensive therapeutic intervention and emotional regulation. However, in order for mental and emotional health to be maintained, the physical body must be nourished and taken care of. At Guardian IOP we offer an integrated approach to treatment, putting a strong emphasis on physical health. Many men and women who are new to sobriety must re-learn how to take care of themselves, having lost hold of the fundamentals of self-care while active in their addictions. Sticking to a structured fitness routine can be difficult at first, but doing so is extremely rewarding and helps clients foster a vital sense of self-assurance and group morale. We encourage our clients to explore their own interests when it comes to fitness, ultimately developing a plan for continuing care that incorporates regular exercise.

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At Guardian IOP we provide a structured and intensive outpatient program that is quite unlike any other. We serve men and women in Delray Beach, Florida and New Brunswick, New Jersey and all surrounding areas who have been suffering from substance abuse and any additional co-occurring disorders. To learn more about our Fitness Programs or about our comprehensive outpatient rehab program contact us today.

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