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Is Warm Weather Better For Recovery?

Substance use disorder, also known as addiction, is a complex medical condition that affects the body as well as the mind. Thus, it is reasonable to ponder whether the physical circumstances in which someone pursues addiction recovery may be relevant to that recovery.

And while it’s hard to say definitively that hot weather increases the chances of successful addiction recovery, there do seem to be aspects of hot weather that offer unique benefits to those in recovery, which we will explore in more detail below.

The Benefits Of Hot Weather For Addiction Recovery

How Heat Affects Blood Vessels

Overall, living in a hot climate seems to put less stress on the body than living in an inordinately cold one. While cold weather causes thermal stress to the body by prompting muscles to contract, heat promotes blood flow by encouraging our blood vessels to dilate.

Though this may be dangerous for people with high blood pressure and extreme heat should be avoided by anyone, avoiding putting the extra stress of cold weather on your body on a regular basis seems to be beneficial for overall health, as evidenced by the fact that average life expectancy rises as temperature rises.

This finding may also partially be due to the fact that the increased sun exposure you get in a hot climate infuses your body with Vitamin D. Vitamin D is an important nutrient that you can absorb through your skin that is thought to be important for mood regulation as well as physical health.

Time out in the hot sun also helps to regulate your sleep cycle by signaling your body to “wake up” when it’s brighter and to wind down when it darkens, while spending too much time inside and responding to artificial cues instead can lead to grogginess and insomnia.

The Benefits Of Exercise For Addiction Recovery

One of the most important and most obvious benefits of a warm climate when it comes to addiction recovery is the fact that most people who live in places that tend towards heat as opposed to cold spend more hours outside, which leads them to move around and to exercise more.

The benefits of this extra workout for the body should not be underestimated. One of the most consistent findings in med sci studies is how much physical activity and exercise improve our mental and physical health.

Exercise can lead to a short-term rise in inflammation and pain, as evidenced by the post-workout muscle soreness that you may feel after an exercise session. But in the long run, getting enough exercise tends to reduce inflammation and promotes blood flow, which puts those who work out often at a lower risk for a variety of chronic conditions.

If you are overweight, you also may find that exercise helps you to lose weight since you can burn off extra calories through a consistent workout regime. Strengthening your muscles through exercise also helps to protect you against injury.

On the mental health side, exercise has been associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety, with some studies even have found that exercise can sometimes be as effective as antidepressants in reducing mental health symptoms.

Currently, the CDC recommends a minimum of two and a half hours of exercise per week for healthy adults. And though some people find greater mental and physical health benefits by exercising more often, you definitely shouldn’t overdo it either. After each exercise session, make sure to build in enough post-workout recovery time to avoid overuse injury.

You should also make sure to drink fluids like cold water or a healthy sports drink to rehydrate after each workout and to refuel with adequate protein that your muscle tissue needs to repair itself a few hours after each workout.

More About Temperature And Addiction Recovery

Understanding Heat Therapy For Addiction

The physical effects of addiction may put a great deal of stress on your body, and symptoms like sore muscles and inflammation are often associated with addiction withdrawal. When dealing with this type of acute muscle pain, some patients have found measures like heat therapy to be helpful.

In situations like these, measures like a hot bath or a heating pad can offer substantial pain relief, working by increasing blood flow to sore muscles and better allowing the body to heal itself. Heat therapy tends to be effective for warding off delayed onset muscle soreness if applied after intense exercise, and also tends to be effective for conditions like menstrual cramps and stiff muscles.

Cold Therapy, Core Body Temperature, And Addiction Recovery

Now that we’ve given you an overview of how heat therapy works, it’s worth noting that applying cold therapy can sometimes be beneficial as well. Cold therapy such as applied using ice packs is often more appropriate than heat for an injury that appears swollen, though you should also avoid applying ice directly to the skin or using cold therapy on areas that feel stiff.

Physically, cold therapy works in the opposite way that heat does, by reducing blood flow and nerve activity, which can in turn work to reduce inflammation and muscle pain. But on the mental health side, cold therapy also seems to offer some intriguing possibilities that may be relevant to those struggling with addiction.

Though it sounds a little out there, some studies have found that a daily cold shower seems to help some people who suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges. This may be because a cool shower prompts the body to release adrenaline and endorphins, in a sense shocking the body awake, which also may reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and stimulate the metabolism.

The act of putting yourself through the unpleasant experience of immersing yourself in cold water on a regular basis may also offer psychological benefits in that it gives you a sense of having done something difficult, which may improve your self-confidence and ability to exercise discipline in other areas of your life.

Some people also find benefits from more extreme forms of body cooling, such as in ice baths, which involve freezing water instead of merely cool water. However, if you’re tempted to try this one at home, you should not let the cold fluids in an ice bath drop below 2°C, and you should also only stay in an ice bath for around fifteen minutes.

While lowering your core temperature can be part of what leads to the benefits of this type of cold water immersion, letting your body temperature drop too low can lead to hypothermia or to a skin injury like frostbite.

Take Control Of Your Health With Addiction Treatment At Reco Intensive

Now that we’ve learned a little about how heat and cold can play into addiction recovery, and about why a hot weather climate might be the ideal one for seeking out addiction treatment, you may have a better idea about why the hot climate of South Florida is such a popular one for people beginning their addiction recoveries.

Reco Intensive is a quality South Florida treatment center equipped to deal with all types of addiction and associated mental health issues. Our comprehensive treatment program makes the best of the Florida heat with by offering a variety of outdoor holistic wellness activities as well as more traditional forms of group, behavioral, and twelve-step inspired therapy.

Feel free to peruse our site to learn more about our services, or to call us anytime at 844.955.3042 or to contact us online anytime here for more information on how our program can help you or someone you love to kick start their recovery. There’s no time like the present to get back on the road to a brighter future.

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