Use Exercise to Supplement Your Recovery
There is no one size fits all recovery treatment. That being said, no matter which treatment method you choose, exercise is a great supplement to your recovery process. Thanks to the many benefits of working out regularly, breaking a sweat will improve both your mental and physical health. And that can make all the difference.
Becoming Healthy Again
As you start to exercise and start to see results, you will naturally gain more confidence and feel healthier. Your weight will improve, your hormones will balance out, and you’ll have more energy. In addition to this, you will find your mental health improving as well. Through a release of dopamine when you work out, not only will you feel happier but exercise has been proven to be an excellent stress coping mechanism too.
All these amazing health benefits will encourage you to continue to get better. In fact, studies have proven that aerobic exercise can reduce cravings and decrease the chance of relapsing. For these two reasons alone, you should consider incorporating exercise into your recovery treatment.
Ease into It
For many people, the idea of hitting the gym and breaking a sweat is too intimidating to even get started. But it doesn’t have to be. If you are new to exercise, start small by taking walks and build from there. The goal is to ultimately feel comfortable hitting the recommended amount of exercise for adults, which according to Everyday Health is 150 minutes of moderate exercise over the course of a week through a combination of aerobic and strength training.
The key is to find an exercise that you enjoy. It can be a solitary and reflective activity like yoga, jogging, or swimming or something more social such as tennis, soccer, or basketball. And if you’re having trouble staying motivated, you might consider a couple of methods. One is to listen to your favorite motivational tunes or to follow along to a workout app or video (Pro-tip: Bluetooth enabled earbuds can be really helpful here!). Two is to have an accountability buddy. Either someone you regularly exercise with or someone you can check in with to update them on your progress. The goal is to just keep moving, but be careful not to overdo it.
Alternate Coping Mechanisms
While exercise can be a great way to manage stress, it is not the only way. Practicing meditation and mindfulness is another great way to cope.
Mindfulness meditation is about teaching yourself to recognize negative thoughts so that you can learn what triggers you. This way, in the future you can prepare for it or avoid it altogether. Being able to identify stress and triggers is a key skill that can help prevent relapse.
Even just five minutes of meditation a day can help stabilize your mood and relax you. To mediate, the New York Times says you should get comfortable and close your eyes, then stay in the moment. When your mind inevitably begins to wander, that’s okay. Just slowly bring yourself back to the present.
Eat Right & Sleep Well
As you start to become both physically and mentally healthier, it is important to keep in mind that exercise alone is not enough. To be truly healthy once again you will need to focus on your eating and sleeping habits as well.
A balanced diet consists of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Remember that your diet is a sum of its parts. A slice of cake or a cookie every now and then is perfectly fine, so long as it is the exception and not the rule.
Similarly, the average adult should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Sleep deprivation can have one of the most disastrous effects on your body so be sure to head to bed at a reasonable hour. If you cannot seem to get yourself to turn in on time, try setting an alarm for when you want to go to sleep.
The Path to Recovery
Exercise can be an incredible tool for helping you get sober. But it is that, a tool. Being in recovery is not easy and requires that you address all aspects of the problem. It is a complete lifestyle change and exercise can help get you there.
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This article was written by Jason Lewis. For more information you can reach him via email : firstname.lastname@example.org