Exercise can offer numerous benefits, particularly in recovery from addiction. A pattern of regular exercise can reduce stress, restore sleep and energy cycles, build confidence, and increase your physical strength and endurance. Here are a few specific exercises that can have especially strong benefits in recovery from addiction.
One of the best things about walking is that almost anyone can do it. Just get your shoes on and start moving at a leisurely pace, going as far as you’d like and seeing your abilities increase over time. One of the most important elements of a good exercise program is that it is done consistently over a long period of time. Even walking gently, over and over again, can add up to great benefits in the long-run. Walking also allows you to enjoy and observe your surroundings, so you will also be exercising your mind in gratitude and appreciation for the good around you.
Yoga is a gentle and noncompetitive activity that increases your flexibility and endurance, and can also be very helpful at improving your mood and reducing stress. A coach will walk you through a series of poses to improve your balance, and cause you to slow down and carefully observe the feelings of your body and your breath. Yoga can often be an exercise for the mind as well as the body, giving you moments to focus on the present, and breathe deeply to deal with negative thoughts that may come your way. Taking time to relax and really appreciate the fact you are caring for and listening to your physical self is a vitally important part of recovery.
Pilates can be done at any level, from gentle strength exercises to more robust contortions. So it can start at your level, and then increase over time. Pilates is an essential way to build up your core strength, the central muscles from which all other muscles are connected. This means you are building up your body as a whole. It can increase your balance, and help you both deal with and prevent pain. This is because pilates can show you how to move with awareness in your own body, and develop essential skills to avoid injury and move with maximum power and efficiency.
Swimming is one of the strongest all-over cardiovascular forms of exercise, in which you repeatedly move the large groups of muscles in your arms and legs. It also increases your ability to take in oxygen, increasing your blood flow and releasing endorphins. Swimming can be a particularly good form of exercise because the buoyancy of water supports your body, and allows for more free movement that doesn’t risk the harm of high impact activities like jogging and running. Water aerobics, and other systems of moving in the water can also be very effective at increasing your body’s strength and health, in a way gentle and with little wasted energy.
5. Sports with people
Playing a sport on a team, or doing physical activities with people, can also be a great way to engage people and make new friends. The recovery process can be very tiring and overwhelming, and some people struggle with loneliness after they have to say goodbye to former friends who are actively using. Being with a group of people committed to having sober fun together and doing an activity that benefits everyone’s health can be an important way to build up your social support and prove that you can live a fun and exciting life in sobriety.
Ultimately, “the best exercise is the one you do.” Whatever you choose to do, exercise can offer many benefits to your recovery process, restoring your health, giving you endorphins, and increasing your strength and endurance. The important thing is to create a new habit- and get out there on a regular basis taking care of yourself and building up your energy.