Staying Fit & Active in Addiction Recovery

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May 9, 2019

There are only so many hours in the day, and sometimes it can feel like there isn’t enough time to finish everything on your list of to-dos. Between going to receive addiction treatment, working, attending counseling sessions, and fulfilling other commitments, you may feel overwhelmed and low on energy. Keeping your body healthy should be a top priority and often times eating healthy and exercising gets pushed to the bottom of the list. Especially when you are tired and low on energy, working out seems like the most miserable thing. But it doesn’t have to be.

Work Hard to Get More Work Done

It may seem impossible to work out when you are low on energy, but it could give you that needed boost to finish out the day strong. When you exercise, your brain secretes hormones that make you feel good. To put it into perspective, whether it be heroin or pain pills, opioids caused the same “feel good” sensation but in an unnatural way. Exercising will give you a natural, euphoric feeling that can give you the motivation to complete whatever is on your list.

Advantages of Working Out

There are some obvious advantages of working out, like losing weight and building muscle. However, there are several others that benefit your overall lifestyle:

  • Provides Structure – When you work out, you have to dedicate time to do it. Going back to your to-do list, this should be one of your priorities. When you start or finish the day with exercise, you are building a routine. This routine can help you stay occupied and lessen the chance of a relapse.
  • Relieves Anger and Stress – Hitting a punching bag, doing a set of pushups, or even a light jog can be an outlet for you to let go of anger and stress. There are going to be days where you struggle or aren’t in a great mood, and exercising is a healthy way to rid yourself of negative emotions.
  • Improves Your Health – Your heart, lungs, muscles and digestive system…pretty much your entire body benefit from exercise. Addiction to drugs and alcohol can wreak havoc on your organs. Exercise and a nutritious diet can slow the effects down and help rebuild healthy tissue and muscle.

How Do I Get Moving?

Now that you are motivated, how do you act on it? Here are some tips to get you going:

  • Dedicate time, about 15-30 minutes, to exercise for 3 days a week.
  • Find an exercise that interests you. It can be yoga, speed walking, an organized sport, weight lifting, swimming, etc. If there are organized sports ran through the city or rec center, it is a great way to meet new people and be a part of a team.
  • Log your exercise in a journal, mobile app, or look into smartwatches that will do it automatically for you.

Remember to push yourself, but not so hard that you feel uncomfortable. If at any time you feel symptoms such as light headedness, chest pain, or shortness of breath, stop what you are doing and call your doctor. Exercise, like your addiction recovery, takes dedication and confidence. Knowing that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to is key in developing positive habits. If you are not able to do a certain exercise due to pain or other reasons or you don’t like the first exercise you try, don’t be discouraged. Find modifications to the exercise or find a new exercise altogether. What is most important is that you are staying active and completing productive tasks. You can do it!