Adventure therapy for addiction treatment combines a rigorous physical fitness program with other components of addiction therapy as a means to improve physical and mental health during the treatment process. In fact, there is evidence to support the use of physical fitness exercises as a critical component of effective treatment for prolonged exposure to the chemicals and toxins found in many of today’s drugs.
The benefits of adventure therapy for drug addiction go much further than skin deep. It’s not about looking physically fit and healthy. It does so much more for the patients who embrace it, including:
- Helps them feel strong and fit, physically.
- Provides a sense of accomplishment.
- Increases confidence.
- Releases endorphins.
- Improves sleep.
- Reduces stress and risks of rapid weight gain (especially for those recovering from prolonged use of appetite suppressing drugs).
- Relieves anxiety and reduces stress.
Perhaps most importantly, it provides people who have turned to drugs or alcohol in the past to cope with difficult and stressful situations find a productive and healthy method of stress management to help them cope with their cravings. As an added benefit, many patients find the type of exercise used in adventure therapy to fun, relaxing ways to fill their time so that boredom doesn’t have an opportunity to set in and undo all their hard work.
In the long-term, adventure therapy and similar physical fitness programs help to reduce the likelihood of relapse among patients that complete and enjoy them.
These are some of the adventure therapy options many residents can choose from if interested in the physical and mental health benefits it offers.
1. CrossFit® Training
As far as a physical fitness program goes, CrossFit is a fairly intense exercise experience. The goal is to get extract the most benefits for the body in the shortest possible amount of time. It involves elements of the following types of exercises:
- Weightlifting and training
- Running and aerobic exercises
The idea is that the powerful combination of intense exercises in the workout allows users to enjoy more physical and mental health benefits from their exercise efforts. The real beauty of CrossFit is that anyone can do it. Even beginners can walk into the weight room and begin training with a qualified CrossFit instructor. As skills grow, the intensity of the workout routine, as well as the benefits, grow as well. This means that anyone coming onto the campus, whether highly skilled with CrossFit training or just starting out can benefit from the experience.
2. Outdoor Activities
This includes a very large umbrella of activities that may appeal to some or all of the residents of any type of adventure or wilderness therapy program. Among the favorites are:
- Rock climbing
- Outdoor yoga
Part of the beauty of these types of exercises is that they take place outdoors, in nature, allowing users to breathe in fresh air while enjoying the benefits of the exercises and activities themselves.
It isn’t absolutely necessary to participate in a formal physical fitness program in order to enjoy the many benefits physical activities have to offer. Any intense activity that gets the blood pumping and oxygen flowing throughout the body is excellent for promoting healing, strength, happiness, and a lasting recovery.
3. Recreational Sports
Don’t underestimate the spirit of competition for really getting things going either. Recreational sports are still sports. Even if the competition is good-natured, it is often quite spirited. Whether it is a pickup game of basketball, sand volleyball, or something more organized, recreational sports and activities are strong instruments to promote health, wellness, and healing among people recovering from addiction.
Beyond the Adventure – Healing Is a Whole-Body Experience
Holistic healing is important for long-lasting recovery. That involves a combination of therapy, fitness, and nutrition. It requires far more than a rigorous physical fitness element and involves the empowerment of patients on all levels. To be effective for the rehabilitation of patients a drug therapy center must embrace all the elements of healing and promote this type of healing at every turn.
Staying Fit and Healthy After Rehab
One of the most important things for sustaining the success and empowerment of physical activities in rehab is to find ways to incorporate them into daily lives after rehab ends. Fortunately, most cities, large and small, have CrossFit centers and facilities patients can join. If not, consider joining local clubs or groups that participate in rock climbing, even if it’s an indoor rock-climbing facility. Meet up with friends who like to run. Participants are also encouraged to participate in aftercare programs, so they never need to feel alone after returning home.