Fitness Plan for Addiction Recovery
In recent years, it has become evident that exercise can play a significant role in treating addiction and helping addicts get sober and stay sober longer. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “exercise is increasingly becoming a component of many treatment programs and has proven effective.” This is mainly because exercise has been shown to reduce negative emotions and stress, which can often cause someone who has recently recovered to relapse. Reducing these negative emotions can make it easier for those with addiction to overcome their disease and stay sober for longer. However, it is often more complicated than just starting a fitness routine. What exercises you do and how long you do them can significantly impact the benefits you receive from working out.
To get the most out of your fitness routine, ask yourself these questions.
Which Exercise Program Is Right for Me?
We are all individuals. Each one of us needs a different sort of exercise routine to get the most benefit. For example, running might be remarkably stress-relieving to one person but might cause pain and injury if you have flat feet. Perhaps you have an old back injury that prevents you from doing specific exercises, or maybe you despise running. In this case, running probably isn’t going to do much to alleviate your stress! Sit down and make a list of exercises you might enjoy as well as a list of activities you already know you don’t like. Out of this list, you can pick a couple to try, but steer clear of what might not work for you! If you’re unsure about what exercises to try, discuss your options with your doctor.
Is My Routine Balanced?
Like many areas of our lives, exercise routines should be complete and balanced. According to Live Science, our fitness practice should include four different types of exercises: aerobic, strength, balance, and flexibility. That might seem like a lot, but it is entirely possible to combine some of these groups and hit two birds with one stone! For example, you can try a faster version of yoga, such as Ashtanga, to get your cardio and flexibility needs all in one go!
Am I Resting Enough?
If you’re older or new to exercise, you might need more rest days than an iron-pumping 20-year-old. Rest days are essential to any workout schedule and can aid you in sticking to your workout routine for a long time. If you’re constantly sore, you might decide that fitness isn’t worth it. Or worse, you could risk injuring yourself by pushing your body too far. Most programs will have a one-size-fits-all approach to resting, but don’t feel the need to stick strictly to these suggestions. Add more rest days as needed.
Am I Exercising Mindfully?
Exercise is an excellent opportunity to be mindful. Building a practice of mindfulness alongside your exercise practice can help you maximize the benefits, decrease your stress levels even more, and improve your overall mental health. According to the Huffington Post, mindfulness is the foundation of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence increases our ability to interpret and deal with our own emotions, which is commonly a problem among recovering addicts. It can also improve our ability to self-manage our behavior. You can practice mindfulness at home by setting up your own meditation room, but remember to pick the right space and fill it with great lighting, scented candles, and calming decor.
Can I Maintain my Routine?
An exercise routine is only useful if you can do it long term. If you’re always finding yourself not having enough time for your routine or dreading it, it might be time to change things up. Rest days can contribute to this, as we have previously discussed, but variety and not biting off more than you can chew can also help you establish your routine for months and years ahead.
Exercise has been shown to improve addiction recovery and prevent relapse. Not all exercise routines are made equal, however. Asking yourself these questions can help you design a workout routine that works best for you!