Exercising has benefits for the mind, body, and soul – and it doesn’t have to be difficult to be advantageous. Just getting your body moving can change your perspective and make you feel better overall. When many people think of exercise, though, they immediately think of running on a treadmill or taking a tough spin class. The good news is that there are much easier ways to take advantage of the role of movement in addiction recovery.
How Does Exercise Help Addiction Recovery?
First thing first: always consult a physician before starting a new exercise program. It’s important to make sure that your body is healthy enough to begin exercising.
Once you’ve got the go ahead, you can start seeing some of the benefits of the role of movement in addiction recovery. Exercise helps in a few different ways – if you’ve ever seen the quintessential early 2000s movie Legally Blonde, you know that exercise produces endorphins.
These endorphins flood your brain, helping you to feel happier. While you may not experience an endorphin rush the first or even second time you exercise, you should start to reap the mental health benefits once you get into a good routine.
A few other ways that exercise can help include:
- Providing a daily routine
- Allowing for participation in social activities that don’t include drugs or alcohol
- Creating a healthy distraction from cravings
The important thing is to find something that works for you and to stick with it.
Which Exercises Should You Try?
How you choose to exercise all depends on what you enjoy doing! Some people find that running is a good form of meditation. It’s a regular rhythm that allows them to get in touch with themselves and take a break from everyday life.
Others prefer just walking or hiking to be able to better connect with nature. Walking is easier on the body than running and can give you time to think, relax, and evaluate how you’re feeling. It’s also a great group activity.
For those looking to connect with the soul through movement as well, yoga is a wonderful option for exploring the role of movement in addiction treatment. There are multiple types of yoga depending on your goals, intentions, and skill level. A qualified yoga instructor can guide you to the best practice for you.
Tips for Exercising in Recovery
When you first start exercising, it may feel foreign or difficult. However, sticking with it can be rewarding. It can also motivate you and bolster your confidence in your recovery. To get the best results from exercise in recovery, be sure you’re doing the following:
- Getting proper nutrition – What you eat fuels what you’re able to do. It’s important to eat well and care for your body. You should also be drinking plenty of water.
- Setting realistic expectations – No one runs a marathon the first week they pick up running. Ease into it and give yourself grace.
- Choosing an exercise that you’ll enjoy – We mentioned this before, but it really is SO important. When you make a commitment to doing something, you need to want it – both in your recovery and in exercise goals you set for yourself.
- Finding an accountability partner – Find someone who loves to exercise. It should be someone you know, like, and trust to give you a gentle push or to participate with you.
Movement is a critical part of addiction recovery. Along with other holistic and clinical treatments, it can help you live a life free from drugs and alcohol.
If you or a loved one is dealing with addiction, RAIN Recovery can help. Give us a call today at (818) 208-9446 to speak with an admissions counselor about our whole-person wellness and addiction recovery programs.