The Power of Exercise in Recovery
By now, you’ve probably heard about how important it is to have a healthy lifestyle when you get clean and sober. It’s true that by treating your body well, you can heal from much of the damage you did to yourself while in your active addiction. Exercise is one of the most important things to help you get a boost! It’s good for your body, mind, and spirit to get exercise. Getting active in recovery can help you immensely improve the quality of your life.
Why is Exercise So Important in Recovery?
Exercise is an integral part of both physical and mental wellness. It can help you relieve stress and calm down from anxiety. A chemical process takes place when a person exercises. As their body begins to sweat and heartbeat increases, chemical such as oxytocin are released. (Oxytocin has shown to be released more frequently in mice that exercise every day, and they exhibit more empathetic behavior and seem less anxious.)
Seratonin, a feel-good chemical, is also released by exercise. It helps people with mental health disorders manage symptoms like depression and anxiety. Everyone in recovery needs a natural boost to help manage negative feelings.
Exercise helps us detox our bodies from the toxins of everyday life. It can help you soothe your anxiety and help regulate your blood pressure. Our bodies were meant to stay in motion, and exercise is the key to make that so.
Exercise for Beginners (and the Reluctant)
Not everyone who exercises finds that it comes easily. While some people may have participated in sports or fitness before their addictions, other people may never have had the opportunity to find an exercise they enjoy.
There aren’t many safe opportunities for in-person exercise classes right now due to COVID. You can, however, find online exercise classes. Check Eventbrite or Youtube for people who do live sessions for free or within your budget. There are also plenty of people who teach a yoga class or boxing online – and some of these sessions are live with an instructor! Also, consider taking up surfing, or swimming, daily. The sun gives you Vitamin D to ward off depression, too!
If you can’t find a sport or organized activity you enjoy, just walk. Walking has fantastic benefits as a cardiovascular exercise. It’s the perfect exercise for all ages and fitness levels, especially for people who haven’t exercised a lot. Make sure you wear a mask when you go out and that you have an exact, safe route you plan on taking. Walk with a socially-distanced sober partner if you can.
Living in a Sober Home in Recovery
Living in a sober home helps people new to recovery to bond and learn to have friendships without using substances.
Living with others in recovery and having structure is an important way to help build a solid foundation in sobriety. Activities such as group outings are common in our communities. We’ll help you learn how to have fun in recovery! Learn more about what our sober homes offer by calling us at 760-216-2077.
Many of us are stuck indoors or minimizing our time outside because of the COVID-19 virus. Attending virtual 12-step meetings, checking in with a therapist, and working on your recovery goals can be a massive help to your attitude. Many people are suffering from anxiety, depressive symptoms, or frustration from the isolation. Instead of sinking into feelings of despondence, it’s time to use your tools to get through these days. Giving your endorphins a boost can help you remain calm and positive. These are the feel-good chemicals your body can create by itself.
Ways to Boost Your Endorphins
Being stuck indoors, whether it’s for 12 hours or 24 hours a day, is no fun. Everyone is missing being out with friends and just living a “normal” life. But you, and everyone else, are, for the most part, powerless over what’s happening right now.
What you can control are your own actions. Choosing to take care of your body and mental health is essential. You can do this in several ways. Endorphins even help to bolster your immune system.
Try these ideas:
- Exercise: Of all the activities that can boost your endorphins, exercise is always at the top of the list. It can help you beat down stress, become more optimistic, and increase your energy levels. At least 15 minutes of exercise a day is needed to get the most benefits.
- Have Some Fun: Laughter is a natural endorphin-booster. Stream a comedy set or a favorite funny movie. You’ll find your mood is uplifted, and you feel less stressed.
- Eat Chocolate: Don’t binge! But adding a small piece of chocolate to your morning coffee or as a dessert can activate the pleasure center of your brain.
- Vibe With Some Music: Everyone has music that inspires them. Listening to music can lift your mood and help you beat stress. Try to remember to do this on your most stressful days.
- Meditate: Meditation helps people handle stress better, partially due to endorphins but also because they release oxytocin, a chemical that quells anxiety.
Consider Sober Living
For many people in recovery, sober living is an important starting step to entering the world after completing a treatment program. Living among peers with similar goals helps you stay focused and you’ll also be part of an intimate, recovery-centered community. Learn more about your options by calling us at 760-216-2077.
Exercise is a powerful tool that anyone can use to help improve their lives. It can help improve your mood and regulate your blood pressure.
When you were using drugs, you may have gotten some exercise. Getting, finding and using drugs and alcohol sometimes means spending some time on your feet.
Once you’ve been clean and sober for a while, you’ll notice some subtle changes in your life. You may feel more confident or upbeat. Or, you may feel more depressive or anxious without the drugs you used to use when you wanted to self-medicate.
Exercise and Depression
Studies show that exercise is a powerful tool for people that suffer from depressive symptoms. For some people who are moderately depressed, exercise is enough to help alleviate their symptoms.
Many people with depression either have trouble sleeping or sleep too much. Exercise can help you sleep more soundly at night and even help you with a boost of energy. People who suffer from severe depression usually require medication and talk therapy. Exercise can be a form of self-care when you’re feeling up to it. Joining a walking group, going surfing, going for a hike or bike ride are all ways to make exercise a part of your regular life.
Exercise and Anxiety
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that nearly 40% of Americans have anxiety disorders. Many people in recovery have experienced trauma or have been diagnosed with mental health disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Exercise can help with anxiety in a few ways. Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormone that the body makes naturally. Walking is a way to practice mindfulness or deep breathing. Surfing may make you feel closer to your spiritual side. These are all benefits of exercise in recovery.
If you’re angry, anxious, or depressed, please try a walk. Just 15 minutes a day can make a difference in your health and your mood. Give yourself a chance to use this powerful recovery tool.
Looking for Sober Housing?
We can help. By the Sea Recovery homes are supervised, structured environment that help men who are recovering from addiction transition to the next phase of their recovery journey. Please give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about our housing.