People in recovery are often told they should get on a regular exercise program. Doctors and therapists often include this in their advice, and for good reason. Getting up and heading out to run, walk, workout at a gym, or simply do a few exercises – all these can improve mood, give you more energy, and help motivate you to continue on a healthy path to recovery.
For many of us, sitting still can lead to inaction, a depressed mood, or feelings of discouragement. Studies with teens have shown the almost surefire cure for depressed feelings is to stand up and start doing something. Physical activity heals. Exercise of any kind gets your heart pumping, more oxygen flowing through your system, helps foods metabolize faster and more completely, and gives you more energy. Exercising on a regular basis – every day or several days a week – can make you stronger, improve health, and reduce the risk of illness and relapse.
It’s also true that exercise can improve the quality of sleep and even put the spark back in sex.
20 Minutes Several Times a Week
Doctors often recommend getting moderate exercise for at least 20-minute intervals. This is the amount of vigorous activity needed to benefit the heart. It’s a great starting point for making sure you’re getting enough activity.
For most adults, try for at least 150 minutes spread over your week. You don’t need to run a mile or swim 20 laps. Moderate activity will work just as well. Walking is easier on knees, hips, and ankles than running. Remember exercise is most beneficial when you don’t allow yourself to get injured in the process.
Physical Activity for a Healthy Mind
For most of human history, only active people could get enough to eat. It was only later in modern societies that we could earn a living while sitting hour after hour. That is why our bodies yearn for activity, even though we may not feel like getting out there and working up a sweat.
Maintaining your recovery requires a different life than when you left for treatment. You were told it was essential to live a healthy, positive, and satisfying life. You probably got help in replacing old habits with healthier new ones. One of those new habits could be physical activity.
Exercise isn’t just for your body, but also for your mind. It’s generally considered a good wholesome “medicine” that comes free of charge. And many doctors say exercise may be just as good as prescription medicines at soothing mental stress, challenges, and illness.
Working out has been shown to improve self-image and create stronger self-confidence. Self acceptance and creating a more loving, positive view of yourself is key to recovery. People who exercise have greater self love and acceptance.
5 Best Exercises
Experts vary on what they consider the 5 most beneficial exercises. Most include some version of push-ups, walking, swimming, strength training, and yoga. They cover everything from getting more oxygen and strengthening your heart to building a stronger body to helping your mind relax and let go of damaging stress and anxiety.
Make New Friends and Networks
Being active can also help you meet new people. You may find others who are walking or running your route, working out at the same track, or visiting the same gym.
Try to find others you can exercise with. Studies show group activity is much better for mental health than working out alone. Run, walk, cycle, or swim with a friend, neighbor, family, or co-worker.
This is an excellent way to create a new, healthier environment for yourself. Start a gym membership or join a running or cycling club. You will be surrounded by people who strongly believe in a healthier, more balanced life. Those are great new friends to support your recovery. They may not understand everything you’ve been through, but their positive outlook on life can be an inspiration that helps you become the person you are striving to be.
Please contact our office to discuss treatment and recovery. We can help you reach recovery goals for the better life you deserve.