In Recovery: How Getting Active Can Help
Updated: Feb 15
For the millions of Americans who are in substance abuse recovery, it’s important to find ways to cope with stress, anxiety, and the symptoms of depression in healthy ways in order to avoid relapse. Getting your life back on track after a period of addiction takes time, so learning how to handle the more difficult aspects of life will help you stay on track and keep you motivated.
There are many different treatments and methods you can try once you make the decision to get sober, but one of the most utilized is very simple: exercise. Getting active or spending time outdoors can help boost your mental health, keep you fit, and add structure to your day, allowing you to always know what comes next. Physical fitness has so many benefits, not the least of which is the ability to focus on all aspects of your health and create a long-term plan for feeling better.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to get active during your recovery journey.
Know the benefits
Getting out into nature is one of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety, but it can also have a positive effect on your physical health. People who live in an area where there is no green space around are more often linked to depression, cancer, ADHD, and a higher risk of disease, whereas those who live close to nature typically have a stronger immune system and aren’t as prone to physical or mental illness.
Do something you enjoy
For some people, the idea of getting active when they’re tired after a long day is stressful in itself, so it’s important to find an activity you enjoy. Whether it’s swimming, practicing yoga, playing a sport, or simply playing with your dog in the backyard, doing something fun and turning it into a workout will help you balance your physical and mental health.
Find the right workout for your needs
If you haven’t worked out in a while or if you have existing health issues, it’s important to find the right workout for your needs. Talk to your doctor about the best exercises to try at home, such as walking, weight training, and cardio, and consider setting up a small home gym. It doesn’t have to be a big, expensive endeavor; utilizing tools such as a stability ball, resistance bands, some free weights, and a yoga mat can go a long way toward helping you get fit in the comfort of your own home.
Make time to find balance
When you’re recovering from addiction, and especially when you’re adding an exercise regimen to your sobriety plan, it’s important to take time to focus on your inner self as much as your physical self. Meditation can help; it’s a great practice for people from all walks of life, but can be especially beneficial for those in recovery. It’s easy to get started, and there are a lot of helpful guided meditations you can follow that will help you find inner balance and peace. It’s important, though, to meditate in an area conducive to relaxation so you can truly focus on yourself, especially if you’re at home where distractions abound. HomeAdvisor suggests finding a quiet room or nook where there is natural or soft lighting, calming colors (like blues and greens), few or no electronics, and a natural element or two, such as a plant.
Getting active during your recovery can help in so many ways, but it’s important to make sure you’re going about it correctly. Don’t push yourself, as this can have a negative effect and keep you from reaching your goals. Talk to your doctor about your plans before you get started and make sure you’re on the same page.