If you’ve been struggling with an addiction and are ready to get help, there are going to be some big changes in your near future. Not only will you need to give up your substance, but you will need to focus on healing your physical body and making lifestyle changes. Exercise and physical activity is a great way to help in your recovery and sober life after treatment.
Exercise in recovery has health benefits for everyone, but especially for those who are working on addiction recovery. Below are ten benefits of physical activity during recovery.
Exercise helps begin the transition to physical fitness. Making the commitment to begin a treatment program is a big deal, and will require a new focus in life. Now instead of being obsessed with your substance, you will become focused on your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Regular exercise is a great way to help your body and mind understand that there are better things ahead for you.
Exercise helps with self-discipline. When you abused drugs or alcohol, you got in the habit of doing what you wanted, when you wanted. Now that you are in recovery, you will need to set boundaries and stick with your goals. Exercise in recovery will help you remain motivated and self-disciplined. You will not always feel like exercising, but if you can make yourself do it because you are committed to it, you will be laying the foundation for other areas of your life as well.
Exercise gives you something to do. While in rehab, your days will be filled with therapy and other activities, but you will still have extra time on your hands. Exercise or physical recreation will help fill your time. After treatment is completed, staying active will help give you constructive things to do.
Exercise helps with stress. Exercise is a natural stress-reducer. It will help you let off steam, relax after a tough day, and have a better tolerance for managing stress.
Exercise improves mood. Physical activity releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancers. When you were addicted to drugs or alcohol, these substances interfered with your brain chemistry and its ability to produce these chemicals. By implementing a regular exercise plan, your body will begin to do this on its own again.
Exercise improves thinking. It is important to have a clear head when in rehab. The mind tends to work faster and better when it is stimulated by exercise. With a regular schedule of activity, you can improve the way your mind processes information.
Exercise helps set a routine. One of the most helpful aspects of a rehab program is the routine it helps you establish. If you follow your treatment plan’s schedule for exercise, and continue it after rehab is over, you will help your body stick with its new-found routine.
Exercise boosts self-esteem. Everyone feels better after working out. You might experience guilt and shame because of your past, and you probably feel bad for where your life has ended up. Exercise will boost your confidence, make you feel better about yourself, and give you hope for the things you will accomplish in the future.
Exercise increases energy. Although you might not always feel like doing it at first, committing to a regular exercise plan will actually give you more energy. This will allow your body to handle more activity and will build strength, which you will need as you recover.
Exercise connects you with others. Whether you work out in a group setting in the gym, or play a sport with a team, or hike with friends, physical activity is fun when shared with others. This connection will help you develop positive relationships that will help you long into the future.
Before beginning an exercise program, it is important to talk to your doctor or treatment provider. Once you have been cleared for exercise in recovery, start slow, and build up to longer and more intense activities.