top of page

Overcoming Addiction: How Exercise Can Help You Regain Control

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

Breaking the cycle of addiction is all about changing your behavior. This means learning to

recognize unhealthy behaviors in your life, trying to understand what triggers them, and,

ultimately, stopping those behaviors for good. To overcome an addiction, however, it’s usually

not enough to simply cut out unhealthy habits. The key to long-term success is replacing those

negative behaviors with new, positive actions.

Physical fitness is a great way to achieve this. Exercise offers a myriad of healthy replacements for unwanted behaviors and brings many other benefits that can help with your recovery.

To help you learn more, Jason Lewis, personal trainer, writer and caretaker, shares the following advice.

Identifying the Stages of Behavior Change

According to a widely acclaimed theory, most people go through different stages when trying to

change their behaviors. Experience Life lists the key stages of change as:

Precontemplation: You don’t see a problem and aren’t trying to change

Contemplation: You begin to realize that you might need to change your behavior

Preparation: You commit to making a change and start taking steps to plan how you will

accomplish the change

Action: You put your plans into action to implement the change

Maintenance: You keep up your changed behavior in the long term

People don’t necessarily move through the stages in order, and it’s not unusual for someone to

skip around, repeat a stage, or be in two stages at the same time.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Maintaining sobriety can be a challenge. Luckily, there are plenty of resources out there to help,

including free rehab centers that incorporate an array of treatment methods to help you break

free from addiction. Before choosing a center, though, take some time to research the types of

treatment being offered, not to mention reviews from past clients. If you're concerned about

costs, look for facilities that offer payment plans and accept multiple types of health insurance.

Understanding How Exercise Helps with Recovery

Exercise is especially helpful during the preparation and action stages of behavior change.

During the preparation stage, actively plan to replace unhealthy behaviors with fitness-related

activities. Mayo Clinic suggests plotting out a new workout routine. You’re less likely to relapse if

you have a plan for what to do when cravings strike.

In the action stage, keep a list of fitness activities that you can turn to as needed. Make sure to

include some options that are available to you at any time, such as running, riding a bike, or

jumping rope, so you don’t falter just because the gym is closed.

Incorporating Self-Care Into Your Routine

Many of the same things that are important for maintaining a fitness routine are also key for

maintaining long-term behavior change. Self-care is a great example: To reach your fitness

goals, in addition to exercising, you also need to eat healthy foods, stay hydrated, and get

plenty of rest. You can also include nutritional supplements like pre-workout and protein

powders to ramp up your efforts.

Maintaining behavior change is also necessary for reaching your recovery goals. Avoid triggers

that can sabotage your progress. During the preparation stage, take the time to thoroughly

clean and declutter your home. Address any problems or issues that could potentially cause you

stress during the action stage, from a creaky hinge to a stack of unpaid bills. A tidy, organized

home atmosphere leads to less anxiety and better sleep, both of which are very important

aspects of the recovery process.

Using Technology to Enhance Your Progress

Advancing toward your fitness goals will give you confidence and a sense of achievement,

which can help you stay on track to reach your recovery goals. Try using a fitness tracker,

workout app, or smartwatch to keep up with your progress. While a smartwatch isn’t required to

reach your goals, it can be an excellent tool for tracking activity and keeping you safe while you

work out. A smartwatch also offers other functions to help you stay connected to work and

business when you’re focusing on your fitness routine. Maximize your smartwatch benefits with

a screen protector or new watchband.

Overcoming addiction isn’t easy, but it’s also not impossible. Take advantage of the many

benefits of exercise to help you break the cycle and change your life for good!

Regardless of your age or fitness level, Beyond the Push Fitness can help you feel your

best! Reach out today to get started.

For a list of drug addiction resources visit

About the Author

"Jason Lewis is a personal trainer, who specializes in helping senior citizens stay fit and healthy. He is also the primary caretaker of his mom after her surgery. He writes for Strong Well and enjoys creating fitness programs that cater to the needs of people over 65."


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page