It’s no secret many people start working out because it makes them feel good about themselves. Many a time, they’re pounding away the weights to compensate for a shortcoming elsewhere. It could be their short height, low self-esteem or they might be trying to prove a point otherwise.
Lifting weights does much more than just improve how you look. Studies have shown regular exercise can help you in getting sober and keep you away from your addictions for a long period of time. Without any further ado, this is why lifting can be so helpful when trying to get sober:
1. Endorphins Help You Get Sober
Endorphins are hormones that are secreted by our central nervous system and pituitary gland. They are also known as happy hormones, since they give us a feeling of euphoria and suppress the transmission of pain signals to our brain.
These chemicals are what make you feel like a Superman after every good set. They also keep you from feeling tired. The more endorphins you produce throughout the day, the more sense of achievement and well-being you’ll generally have.
Most people consume alcohol or drugs because they’re not satisfied with their current state of being. You get a similar kind of high when endorphins are released in your body while working out as you get on drugs.
2. Lights Up Your Mood
Once you’ve stopped drinking, regular exercise can help you achieve long-term sobriety. A vigorous training program keeps you focused and distracted from your stresses. An intense training program is capable of boosting your mood and fighting off depressive symptoms.
If you’re recovering from an addiction, lifting weights can be especially helpful as they increase your physical fitness, self-esteem, and confidence, giving you much-needed support when you need it the most.
In a study conducted in 1982, David Sinyor published a report showing 69 percent of recovering alcoholics whose treatment program included daily vigorous exercise stayed sober for three months following treatment. On the other hand, 62 percent of those whose treatment contained no exercise had relapsed within that same timeframe.
3. Improves Your Psychological Well-Being
Lifting weights has the same effect on the mind as it has on the body. It’s not given its due credit when it comes to the positive effects it has on our mental well-being. When you’re psychologically strong, you’re ready to face any challenge life throws at you.
One of the biggest reason people start using alcohol and drugs is when they feel they can’t control anything around them and when they start feeling helpless. The temporary highs from drugs turn into addictions when they are looked upon as escapes.
A bad psychological state leads to a bad physiological state, which only makes matters worse. When someone in bad physical shape looks into a mirror, they see despair and weakness. This often leads to the search for a substance that can fill the gap between their current and ideal state of being.
4. Lifting Releases Dopamine
Dopamine is a hormone which is released in the body as a result of rewarding experiences. Workouts, food, sex, etc. release dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is also released when you take the most addictive of drugs.
The release of dopamine helps in the function of movement, memory, pleasurable reward, behavior, and cognition, attention, inhibition of prolactin production, sleep, mood, and learning. Long story short, you need dopamine in abundance to function at your optimum levels.
Lifting can be the best alternative for drugs and alcohol for some people since it has the same effect on the brain as these substances. You get the same high when you work out, but on the other hand, there are no downs as in the case of drugs.
5. Keeps You On Track With Your Goals
Working out gives you something to look forward to. You will always have a meal or a goal to meet every single day. This keeps you from getting off track. People usually fall into the alcoholism—or drug—trap when they aren’t anticipating much from their lives.
Working out gives you a sense of confidence and boosts your self-esteem. Every day you go into the weight room, you’ll have set standards for yourself, and you’ll strive to meet those standards every day.
It is recommended you hire a personal trainer or get yourself a workout buddy. This can be really helpful in the initial days and can act as a regular source of motivation, guidance and support. Working out with a partner will also give you a sense of togetherness, that someone is in it with you.