Exercise is a key component in living a healthy life. A fitness regimen can be vital in an addiction recovery plan. Here is important information for how to include a workout in your treatment plan and engage a healthy lifestyle for your long-term well-being.
Structure and routine. When you’re overcoming an addiction, it’s vital to replace your unhealthy lifestyle with a healthy one. According to Psychology Today, life for someone dealing with substance abuse before entering recovery is unstable, out of balance, lacking structure, unpredictable, and uncertain. By reframing that life with structure and promoting healthy habits through a wellness-oriented lifestyle, you can successfully navigate the challenges that come with the physical and mental healing process. Creating a routine also helps avoid boredom, which is one of the biggest triggers for relapse. Doing things that keep you productive and active allow you to focus on positive things and achieving goals, instead of allowing your mind to wander in unhealthy directions.
Important benefits. Addiction damages your physical and mental health. Once the recovery process starts, healing can begin, and exercise can be a key player. Including a fitness plan in your recovery helps reduce cravings through healthy coping skills. For example, when a craving comes along, you can go for a walk or do some calisthenics. Another benefit of exercise is stress reduction. Stress is one of the big factors in triggering relapses, and physical activity can reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals in your brain, helping you feel more positive and leaving you less inclined to dwell on negative issues. Exercise also increases your self-esteem and reduces feelings of depression. As you meet workout goals, you feel more confident in your ability to overcome challenges. Exercise also helps regulate sleep habits, which can be out of balance as a result of addiction.
Kinds of exercise. Good news: All sorts of exercises can help with your recovery, so the best plan is to find things you enjoy doing. If you’re new to exercising, the American Heart Association recommends walking. Walking is inexpensive and convenient, since you can just slip into a comfortable, supportive pair of athletic shoes and get started. Try walking for 10 to 15 minutes a day and do it at the same time every day. When you feel more fit, change things up. Go dancing, jog with your dog, ride a bike, or go rock climbing. If you like group activities, join a fun class like Zumba or try kickboxing. Some experts suggest trying yoga, since it incorporates mindfulness along with fitness. Mindfulness can be a boon in the recovery process because it helps you to be more aware of your triggers and how you respond to them. Yoga also can help you feel less judgemental, which can be a key in forgiving yourself and moving forward in your new lifestyle.
Stay motivated. You might like to invite a friend to work out with you, partly for camaraderie and partly because having a workout partner increases accountability. Whatever workout options you choose, the key for maintaining an all-around healthy routine for the long term is to keep things pleasant and find activities you enjoy. You may wish to keep a workout log of your progress so you can note improvements as you go. Keep your expectations reasonable and celebrate your successes with small, healthy gifts like a new book or some exercise gear.
Fitness for life. A healthy, balanced lifestyle can be the key to recovering from an addiction. Structure a routine that includes exercise and find activities you enjoy. A happy and healthy life can be yours!