Best Exercises for prescription painkiller addiction recovery

What kind of exercise program is best for recovering from prescription painkiller addiction?

For prescription painkiller addicts, staying fit during rehabilitation and after treatment can present some special challenges, even though physical fitness is an important aspect of working toward recovery. Because pain can trigger relapse, especially in those with underlying pain issues, only light to moderate exercise is recommended. The desire to medicate discomfort from heavier exercise and exertion can potentially lead the individual to abuse pain medication again. With that in mind, here are a few alternatives to popular exercise techniques, like CrossFit, that are less likely to lead to injury.

Stretching and Light Yoga

These activities can be very therapeutic in not only strengthening muscles, but also improving range-of-motion, balance, and mood. Stretching is a necessary component of any physical fitness regime. Yoga can be effective in mitigating anxiety and slowly easing into a more arduous fitness plan. Both can be done solo or as part of a group. In the beginning, having a yoga instructor to teach correct forms and guide participants through the postures is ideal. Pilates offers similar benefits, but is too strenuous to begin early in the recovery process. This lightweight exercise can help prevent further prescription painkiller addiction.

Senior Fitness

Low intensity and low impact exercises designed for use by seniors can also benefit those with prescription painkiller addiction during rehabilitation and recovery. These exercises minimize the chances of injury or post-workout soreness, offering a gentler way of beginning a health lifestyle centered on good diet and exercise practices. Senior fitness also doesn’t require special equipment, making use of common household objects like chairs and walls. Light hand-weights can be added later in the regime, starting at two to five pounds.


Whether on a track or treadmill, walking is currently one of the most popular methods of keeping fit for everyone, not just those in rehab or other special circumstances. With less impact or risk than running, most people tolerate walking quite well. For those undergoing rehabilitation for prescription painkiller addiction, it is important to start out slow and with short distances, usually no more than one to two miles, early on. This can gradually be increased while keeping the minimization of discomfort as a goal. Walking is an easy habit to continue after leaving rehab.

Water Aerobics or Swimming

For those who have access to a pool, water aerobics for beginners can offer numerous benefits, including a low-impact workout and the soothing effects of being in the water. Hydro-aerobics or water aerobics combines regular movement with the resistance of the water to create a muscle-toning activity that’s hard to beat, especially for those unable to do higher impact workouts. Some have called swimming the ultimate form of exercise because it works so many different muscle groups. Swimming also offers the opportunity to learn different strokes and works as a stress reliever for many people, including those with prescription painkiller addiction.

Team Sports Activities

Team sports help addicts connect with others in a gratifying and team-building way that forges the way for creating genuine connections with others. Favorites include doubles tennis and badminton, volleyball, basketball, and flag football, all of which can be played with a friendly competitive spirit and at a lower intensity level with the opportunity for injury minimized. For younger patients especially, participation in team sports can offer the chance to reduce excess energy while also engaging peers in a healthy and meaningful way that may help them to develop interests beyond their prescription painkiller addiction.

If you have a loved one who needs rehabilitation for prescription painkiller addiction, consider a program that offers them fitness and wellness options to compliment their regular therapy. Creating a healthy lifestyle has many components and becoming physically fit is one of them. Contact us today to learn more about exercise and recovering from addiction.

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