How Physical Fitness Helps With Addiction Recovery
Guest Blog entry by Sheila Olson of fitsheila.com
It was rough when you weren’t sober. You knew you had to stop using, but that’s the thing about addiction — it’s not exactly easy to quit. But thanks to some friends, a good program, and some inner strength, you managed to beat your substance abuse problem.
As you start your journey through addiction recovery, you know you’ll need help. Even the strongest person has weak points. That’s why you need to work on your physical fitness. Being healthy and fit can facilitate your addiction recovery efforts and help keep you clean. After all, you really should be concerned with your total wellness.
Total Wellness Includes Physical Health
One reason people have substance abuse problems is poor health. It’s not hard to get addicted to taking prescriptions or “self-medicating” when you’re constantly in pain or a state of discomfort. To improve your total wellness and stay on the straight and narrow, it helps to improve your physical health.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that being active can help people fight substance abuse. There are many benefits to your body from exercise, such as a stronger heart and immune system. But physical activity also benefits your mind. It releases hormones like endorphins that boost your mood and reduce your stress.
Your body and mind are interconnected. As you improve your physical health, your mental health (and your total wellness) improve as well. In fact, researchers are currently exploring how exercise can help fight depression. In other words, staying active can help you feel better. And when you’re feeling better, there’s less chance of slipping back to your old habits.
Physical Fitness Tips
Sure, physical health is important to your addiction recovery. But how can you get fit? There are many things you can do, from eating better to playing team sports. The sweet spot for someone recovering from substance abuse is exercise that helps improve your mental health as well. Although any exercise can do that, Blackmores lists several exercises great for the body and mind. These include:
- Swimming, which is great for cardiovascular health.
- Hiking to stretch the legs and enjoy time outdoors in nature.
- Gardening can be surprisingly active, and it feels great to help something grow and thrive.
You might have already thought about the benefits of yoga. It’s trendy these days, and for good reason: yoga has been shown to help you improve how you react to stress by helping you achieve a peaceful, meditative state. For someone in addiction recovery, that can literally be a lifesaver. Another bonus of yoga is that it can easily be practiced at home. All you need is a yoga mat and enough room to stretch out. If you find that yoga is keeping you in shape and helping you find emotional balance, consider setting up a space that can be used for practicing yoga and meditation; you can dedicate a whole room to these calming activities or even just set up a corner in your bedroom with your mat, a yoga block, and a natural element like a plant.
Stay On Track By Getting Fit
There are many benefits from getting physically fit. Losing some weight and socializing with others are just two. But when you’re in addiction recovery, it can help you stay sober by improving your mental health and total wellness.