Importance of Physical Wellness in Recovery

Read on to learn about how to improve your own physical wellness, along with what it can entail for our overall health.

What is Wellness?

Over eighteen million people and families in the United States are affected by substance misuse and addiction. According to a growing body of research, the success of physical activities in treating drug use disorders to increase physical wellness is the consequence of a mix of behavioral, physiological, and neurological mechanisms.1 

Wellness refers to good health in all aspects. Our feelings of purpose, joy, and connections all play an essential role in lifetime physical fitness and wellness, and as an aspect, our physical well being.
Physical Wellness


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Importance of Wellness in Recovery

Physical wellness is a concept becoming more and more popular these days, and most people understand it to mean a general sense of wellbeing and health.

However, there is a deeper sense to the term wellness in recovery. It involves physical, mental, and spiritual health that serves as the foundation upon which wellness and recovery activities flourish in order to help patients overcome potential alcohol or substance abuse.

Dimensions of Wellness

There are many different dimensions for our overall health and wellness, some of which are talked about in further detail below.


Emotional wellness entails coping well with life events and having gratifying relationships.
Emotional wellness at work is more than simply being joyful. It raises awareness of all feelings, moods, ideas, and actions and determines how they aid or impede healing and wellness recovery.


Intellectual wellness involves knowing who we are, what we are capable of, and building on these abilities
When you find yourself looking for how to challenge what you know and get better in your skills and abilities, it is a sign of positive intellectual health. You find yourself seeking ways to challenge yourself, such as learning how to play a musical instrument. Physical and mental wellness activities sometimes go hand in hand.


Occupational wellness entails receiving a sense of fulfillment through our occupation and profession. Engaging in work that gives a sense of achievement helps you establish and practice your values. Doing something that you are enthusiastic about may make your life feel more significant and even improve physical wellness in the workplace.


Physical wellness entails engaging in activities that offer peace and allows the body to flourish. In physical wellness, physical therapy and fitness serve as the foundation for long-term healing. Active drug use has a physical toll on our bodies, and it takes time for our physical and mental well-being to heal in wellness recovery.
There are three main physical wellness dimensions: eating well, sleeping well, and engaging in active physical activities such as exercise, although there are other ways to improve physical wellness as well. In the early stages of recovery, it is critical to prioritize these critical physical wellness strengths to lay a solid foundation for improving our emotional and spiritual health. Sometimes, physical and mental wellness activities walk together.


Social wellness entails having a solid support system of friends and family, finding support when you need it, and also offering support for others as well.
Humans were designed to get and give moral and social support. In times of trouble and happiness, celebrating with people makes it much more fulfilling. This is why it is recommended that you have a group of friends that you feel close to and can connect with at any time during wellness recovery. 1 


Spiritual wellness entails giving flesh to and expanding our purpose in life. A spiritual basis provides us with a sense of security and physical wellbeing, fueling our recovery. Active substance use frequently implies a preoccupation with ourselves and our wants, but spiritual wellness helps us think beyond ourselves.

Why Is Physical Wellness So Important for Recovery?

Substance abuse influences our health far beyond brain chemistry, so long-term rehabilitation and access to physical therapy and wellness must also include physical healing. As addiction takes root, the body exhibits many symptoms with far-reaching repercussions.
Not only does someone with a drug or alcohol abuse disorder frequently disregard their personal health and cleanliness, but they are also filling their systems with toxic chemicals that negatively impact their general fitness and physical wellbeing. Patients frequently show up to health and wellness physical therapy with various health issues.

How Does Physical Wellness Work in Addiction Recovery?

Exercise releases endorphins into the body, resulting in a natural high. These are the same endorphins that are released when individuals abuse narcotics. Exercising after rehabilitation and access to physical therapy and wellness aids in reintroducing healthy endorphins into the body.
Some studies have indicated that exercise has protective benefits in methods designed to replicate various transitional periods that occur during the development and recovery from a drug use problem.
All in all, this proves that exercise and addiction recovery can play a highly active role in providing a healthy alternative to substance abuse.

How Physical Wellness Leads to Recovery

There are many different ways that physical wellness can help lead you or a loved one through a healthy recovery process.

Lowers Stress Levels

During wellness and recovery, you might feel pressured not to relapse. This might induce higher levels of tension, leaving you constantly questioning your wellness and recovery activities.
Exercise provides a way to push out this tension. It causes your brain to produce chemicals that relax the areas of your brain that govern your anxiety. This can be accomplished by engaging in mild or high-impact exercise.

Exercise Helps You Connect with Others

During wellness and recovery, many people feel compelled to isolate themselves from friends who potentially encouraged their addiction. In the process of wellness and recovery, you may find it difficult to make new friends. Signing up in a gym or any type of exercise in groups helps you to connect with individuals who share your passion.
It’s a great chance to meet new individuals who are likewise concerned about their physical fitness. Staying connected in various fitness groups and joining activities for recovery groups will help you avoid being lured back into your former life. Group fitness sessions can also help to arrange your day and divert your attention away from unwanted thoughts.

Physical Wellness Helps You Feel Better

The extent of damage to your body from alcohol or drug abuse is dependent on how long you used those substances. A commitment to physical wellbeing allows your body to mend and become more fit. You’ll discover that you can execute physical chores with greater spirit and stamina than before.
Exercise is helpful to more than just your physical health, however. Physical exercise promotes the formation of new nerve connections in the brain, which aids in the recovery of your brain from previous substance misuse. Many people find that getting more exercise improves their sleep habits.

What Are the Benefits of Physical Wellness During Addiction Treatment?

There are many added benefits of cultivating physical wellness if you’re using it as a strategy during addiction treatment.

Improved Mental Health

Mood changes have been linked to addiction recovery. By training your brain to naturally make the feel-good chemicals sought artificially in drugs, you may help the body adjust to its new circumstances. Exercise causes endorphin release to be released in the brain, resulting in sensations of happiness and physical wellbeing. According to experts, thirty minutes of daily exercise can induce a good mood shift.

Reduced Drug Cravings

Addictions and abuse can cause dehydration, poor diet, and low blood sugar levels. These conditions can induce drug cravings. In contrast, a balanced diet coupled with regular meals can prevent this and improve recovery from drug addiction.

Easing Withdrawal Symptoms

Lingering withdrawal symptoms, including agitation, poor mood, anxiety, and cravings can make it difficult to resist temptations to relapse, particularly in persons who are not enrolled in a formal treatment program.
Aerobic exercise and mind-body practices, according to multiple studies, may help relieve certain withdrawal symptoms in persons in early substance misuse recovery. Exercising can also help alleviate anxiety, and tension, offer lifetime physical fitness and wellness and produce a positive attitude.2 

Better Sleep

Sleep issues are frequent throughout recovery. When people who have had access to physical therapy and wellness begin using alcohol or drugs in the mistaken belief that these substances will help them sleep, they have probably been advised against it. Regular exercise might help you sleep longer and better.

Regaining Physical Strength

When you participate in energy-draining activities like sports, you will expend much energy and gain stamina and power. If your recovery has left you sluggish at times, regular exercise is one method to build your vim and activeness.3 

Can Exercise Be a Standalone Treatment for Addiction?

Exercise has long been acknowledged as a self-help technique for persons suffering from addictions, but only lately has it been recognized to succeed in physical therapy and wellness for addiction in its own right
However, exercise might not help you understand the cause of addiction at first. It could, however, be helpful in improving your emotion and the effectiveness of some other therapies. Hence, most doctors prescribe that exercise be done in conjunction to evidence-based treatments as a supplementary type of treatment.

When Is Exercise Encouraged in Addiction Recovery?

Moving your body in ways that strengthen it or provide you joy can be a helpful method for keeping sober. The long-term effects of exercise for addiction treatment are less well-known, partly because a person’s rehabilitation can be impacted by a range of factors unrelated to physical activity and exercise.
Gentle kinds of exercise may be more beneficial to certain persons in early addiction recovery than more intense forms of exercise. While vigorous exercise, such as running, may be good for some, others may need to gradually reintroduce exercise for your physical wellness goal. 4 

What Can Physical Wellness Accomplish?

When the benefits of physical fitness are applied to drug and alcohol treatment, patients gain from improved general health and wellness and fewer cravings, fewer withdrawal symptoms, decreased relapse rates, and an improved recovery experience.