Staying active and exercising can play an important role in recovery from addictions and other co-occurring disorders such as depression or anxiety. Often, when a person is struggling with substance abuse and a type of mental disorder, it is important to approach recovery from many different angles. Treatment might include a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression or anxiety, rehab for an alcohol or drug addiction, a 12-step program such as AA or NA, and a variety of personal lifestyle changes.
One lifestyle change that can have a significant effect on recovery is physical activity. Staying active can help you move towards recovery and sobriety in a number of different ways. Here are some ways to stay active that can help towards your recovery process:
This form of exercise is probably one you already thought of, right? Well, taking the time to go for a walk every day or even going for a run every day is a great way to stay active during recovery as it has been known to provide many benefits to your health and well-being.
A wide range of research shows that physical activity like running decreases depression, anxiety, and sleep difficulties. This direct effect on depression and anxiety is important in itself, but lower levels of depression and anxiety can also have an indirect effect on a person’s desire to use. People often use drugs and alcohol to numb away feelings and self-medicate the symptoms of a distressing mental illness. When these symptoms are lessened, many people feel less desire to use.
Another great form of exercise is done by simply riding a bike and taking the time to use your bike more if you have one that is. Regular physical activity can help protect you from serious diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, diabetes, and arthritis. Riding your bicycle regularly is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Cycling is a healthy, low-impact exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, from young children to older adults. It is also fun, cheap and good for the environment. Riding to work or your local shopping center is one of the most time-efficient ways to combine regular exercise with your everyday routine. An estimated one billion people ride bicycles every day – for transport, recreation, and sport.
Yoga is another excellent way to stay on track with the benefits of exercise. Not only is it amazing for your body, but it also implements meditation as well. Yoga teaches you to focus only on the present moment and current task at hand; being able to let go of your worries and struggles with recovery, even briefly, can be the best medicine for you. This form of exercise can help you learn to calm your mind and ease your anxieties, and you may even find that meditation alone can help you overcome moments of temptation. For the most part, you can find classes at every level at local gyms and recreation centers, but there is also an abundance of online guides and videos that can help you get started.
You don’t have to hike a huge or challenging mountain in order for it to be beneficial to your health and recovery. In fact, simply being outside in nature has therapeutic effects of its own. Going for a hike through the park or in the woods near your home is a great way to exercise, get some fresh air, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, and find some inner peace.
Being out in nature and enjoying the views this world has to offer is already amazing enough, hiking is a great form of exercise to do by yourself or with friends as well. Overall, hiking can be a healthy reminder that there’s so much more to be grateful for in the sober world than there ever was during the grim world of addiction.
Yes, dancing! A wide variety of people love the liberating feeling of showing their moves on the dance floor and it’s a wonderful option for your recovery fitness routine. Dancing can lower stress, improve your mood, get your heart pumping, and increase your energy and flexibility.
If you have the opportunity to take a certain dance class at the gym or anywhere near you, try it out! You can also come up with your own dance exercise routine at home, and even include someone else in your routine to have fun with others. Whatever you choose to do, dancing gives you an escape from the frustrations of recovery, a hobby to focus on, and a healthy mindset to stay strong during recovery.
Please note that whatever form of exercise you choose to do, stick with it. It’s important to be continuous with your fitness routine and always have time to stay active, especially after drug or alcohol recovery. Exercise can be a very effective tool during the recovery process and for life. Whether it’s yoga, hiking, running, or biking, continue to stay active to increase the chances of continued recovery and a healthy life.
If you have questions concerning addiction recovery or entering a program, please feel free to contact us at anytime for answers.