Recovery Options: How Physical Fitness Can Help
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For millions of Americans, seeking treatment for substance abuse can be one of the most painful and difficult decisions they’ve made in a long time. It takes a certain amount of bravery to move forward on a path to a healthier life, especially since recovery doesn’t just take a week or a month; it is a lifelong process. Finding the right treatment--or combination of treatments--is imperative, as it can mean the difference between continuing down the right path and becoming unmotivated.
Fortunately, there are many different types of treatment and methods of recovery out there. Some individuals prefer counseling or therapy, while others need in-patient treatment. Some find that having a hobby helps them get through the day, or that exercise allows them to feel good in a way that keeps them healthy and safe. In fact, physical fitness is often utilized for individuals who are battling substance abuse and mood disorders like depression because it does have a link to mental health.
“There is no medication or nutritional supplement that even comes close to having all of the effects exercise does,” says David C. Nieman, PhD. “It’s truly the best medicine we know of.”
Here are some of the best things physical fitness can do for your recovery.
Make social connections
Social connections are so important when you’re in recovery. Many individuals feel uncomfortable during this time and want to withdraw, either because they don’t want to put themselves in a situation where there is temptation or because they aren’t quite sure how to interact with others in the midst of so many changes. Joining a workout group, heading to the gym, or simply walking in the park and striking up a conversation with fellow walkers will help you make social connections in a safe environment.
Substance abuse recovery is all about getting to a healthy place, and because drugs and alcohol can take a toll on your body, it’s important to help yourself heal. Daily exercise is a great start, as it can help you repair damage and get lean and strong. It’s important to find the right workout for you, however, so don’t be afraid to try a few new things (as long as your doctor says it’s okay). Walking, weight training, and cardio workouts are great places to begin. You’ll find more information on ways to find the workout that’s ideal for you here.
Boost your mental health
Physical fitness can work wonders for your mental health state, as it releases tons of endorphins that will keep you feeling happy and motivated. Not only that, it can help relieve stress and anxiety and allows you to focus your mind on the present without worrying about the past. This is akin to meditation and is often utilized with yoga, another great workout idea for those in recovery. Thankfully this list of benefits goes on, here.
Feel better about yourself
Getting into a daily exercise routine can help you feel better about yourself because you’re making an effort to get healthy. You might even begin to see positive physical changes right away, depending on the type of exercise you do, and this can help lift your self-esteem and keep you motivated when it comes to making good choices.
Living in recovery can be difficult even at the best of times. It’s a long road that requires support from friends, loved ones, or a group of people who understand what you’re going through, and sometimes it may still feel like you’re alone. Just keep in mind that you’re on the right path, and that keeping up a fitness routine will help you continue to make good decisions even when they’re difficult ones.