Moving Forward: Running (or Walking Briskly) as a Path to Recovery from Addiction

May 9, 2024

4 mins

Jackie Rosu


Reducing tension and anxiety is one of the main benefits of brisk walking or running as a means of addiction rehabilitation.

Millions of people across the world suffer from the complicated, long-lasting, and difficult disorder known as addiction. It can have detrimental consequences for an individual's relationships, general quality of life, and physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. Addicts confront many obstacles on their road to recovery, and the process can sometimes seem overwhelming and unmanageable. Running or brisk walking, however, is a straightforward yet effective exercise that may help people move ahead and reclaim their lives in the middle of the challenging path to recovery.

Benefits of Movement

It has long been known that physical exercise, particularly brisk walking or running, is advantageous for one's health. These advantages include less stress and anxiety, better cardiovascular health, and more vitality. However, its importance in rehabilitation from addiction has only recently come to light. It may appear to be a simple and unimportant activity at first, but it can really be quite important to the healing process.

Reducing tension and anxiety is one of the main benefits of brisk walking or running as a means of addiction rehabilitation. For those who are battling addiction, these feelings are frequent triggers that frequently result in a relapse. But endorphins—also referred to as the "feel-good" hormones—are released when you exercise, and they can help lessen these unpleasant feelings. As a consequence, people in recovery may notice a decrease in cravings and an improvement in their mood, which will help them deal with the difficulties of their recovery.


Starting the process of recovering from addiction is a brave and life-changing endeavor. Running or brisk walking may be a strong tool for healing and growth, but physical exercise can also bring distinct advantages. Traditional therapy and support groups are important parts of this path.

  1. Mind-Body Connection: Exercises such as brisk walking or jogging can improve the mind-body connection. While moving your body, you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. This increased consciousness can support general well-being and help process underlying problems that contribute to addiction.
  1. Stress Relief and Mental Health: Exercise has been demonstrated to alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression—all of which are frequent triggers and co-occurring disorders in the treatment of addiction. Endorphins are the body's natural mood enhancers that are released during vigorous walking or running. These chemicals can help reduce negative feelings and enhance mental wellness.
  1. Routine and Structure: Creating a regular regimen for walking or running will help you live a more disciplined and structured life. Maintaining long-term rehabilitation requires developing positive self-esteem, fostering healthy behaviors, and instilling a feeling of success. Regular physical exercise may provide all of these benefits.
  1. Social Connection: Joining a community or running club can help you feel supported by others and like you belong. Making connections with others who are passionate about walking or running can help you overcome feelings of loneliness and create a network of people who understand your journey.
  1. Setting Fitness Goals: Whether it's finishing a 5k race or improving your jogging distance, reaching fitness goals may give you a sense of empowerment, purpose, and drive. Celebrating these achievements can give you more self-assurance and support your capacity to conquer obstacles while in recovery. 
  1. Developing Mindfulness: Vigorous walking or running can be used as a type of movement meditation. You may develop a sense of presence and clarity by practicing mindfulness and paying attention to your breath, your footfall, and your environment. This mindfulness exercise can foster inner serenity, improve self-awareness, and help control cravings. Finally, incorporating brisk walking or jogging into your addiction recovery path may be a highly potent and life-changing experience.

It is important to note that running or walking briskly is not a replacement for professional treatment and therapy. However, it can serve as a complementary activity that enhances the recovery process and promotes overall well-being. Whether it is done alone or in a group, running or walking briskly can be a therapeutic and empowering experience for individuals in recovery.

Future impacts

Promoting physical exercise as a means of addiction treatment might also have wider societal ramifications. By encouraging people in recovery to exercise regularly, we are promoting the general public's health and welfare in addition to the personal well-being of those in recovery. It has been demonstrated that physical activity raises the quality of life overall, lowers the risk of chronic illnesses, and improves mental health. Exercise is a key component of addiction treatment programs that help people lay the groundwork for long-term health and recovery.

While engaging in physical exercise can be a great way to overcome addiction, there are drawbacks and obstacles to take into account. Not everyone has the physical capacity for strenuous exercise, and some people might find it difficult to find the willpower or means to stick to a regular fitness schedule. Furthermore, the many underlying problems that lead to addiction may require more attention than exercise can provide on its own. It is critical to understand that addiction is a complex illness that calls for a thorough and customized approach to therapy.

Let’s Walk Together

Movement is a fundamental aspect of the human experience, and its power should not be underestimated in addiction recovery. Many individuals turn to substances or unhealthy behaviors as a way to cope with negative emotions or difficult situations. However, in recovery, it is crucial to develop healthy coping mechanisms to prevent relapse. Engaging in physical activity can serve as a positive outlet to release tension and emotions without resorting to harmful substances or behaviors. It is a journey that involves putting one foot in front of the other, but with each step, individuals are moving forward toward a healthier and happier life.

Visit us here to choose the best Never Alone Recovery program for you and to learn more about our other sobriety resources. Our staff is dedicated to assisting you in identifying the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific needs. We work hard to ensure that every patient getting treatment has the best opportunity of achieving sobriety and stability, which will lead to a brighter future. Join our free online support group as your first step toward recovery, and enjoy the ease of participating from the comfort of your own home.

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