Addiction recovery is an intense emotional journey, and coping with the effects of alcohol or drug addiction often involves many uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
However, effective recovery is a wholly transformative effort and addresses one’s body and mind in equal measure. Physical activity and fitness can be instrumental in furthering one’s recovery efforts and present many strategies to help navigate and overcome the trials of recovery.
Finding the Best Physical Outlet
Physical fitness takes many forms, and there is no one activity or exercise that is “best.” Rather, the act of taking one’s physical health seriously and engaging in the most effective, fun, or interesting physical fitness activities often yields the best results. Enjoying oneself and staying committed to one’s physical fitness is crucial for one’s ongoing physical health. Jogging, hiking, biking, swimming, creating a physical fitness space in one’s home, or joining a sports group can all be effective physical outlets to focus on one’s physical health in a fun and personal way.
One can also establish physical fitness routines based on their available equipment. While sporting equipment may feel like a barrier, doing home exercises like sit-ups, push-ups, or engaging in yoga are all equipment-free and affective avenues.
The Benefits of Physical Fitness in Recovery
Constant efforts to improve one’s physical health is important for one’s overall health. However, for those in recovery, there can be even more benefits than one may realize. Physical activity and fitness can frame many other aspects of one’s recovery journey.
The idea of “transformation” can be enigmatic in recovery. However, engaging in physical activity can promote a healthier lifestyle, and an individual can see this progress in action in a changing physical self-image. This kind of tangible transformation can reinforce the possibility of change in one’s continued recovery efforts.
Filling Free Time
The cessation of the use of addictive substances is a difficult task, and there is often one hurdle that many face immediately in their recovery journey. What does one do with their newfound free time?
Boredom can be a major problem for those sustaining sobriety, and before embracing new sober routines, it is common to feel compelled to fill this time in the only way one may know how—with drugs or alcohol. Physical activity provides an outlet with which to fill this time in a healthy and productive way, creating new routines while keeping the body active.
Processing Urges and Cravings
Urges and cravings are a common and immensely difficult part of sustaining one’s sobriety. While their effects are intense, they also pass in time. Having a dedicated exercise outlet can occupy one’s body and mind during these times, refocusing one’s efforts until these feelings subside. By keeping the body occupied, these urges and cravings can pass in a safe manner and keep one’s sobriety intact.
Keeping a Clear Mind
Physical activity and fitness keep one’s blood pumping and exercise all of one’s bodily systems, all of which can extend to help create a clear mind. For those in recovery, keeping a clear head is instrumental for challenging feelings of depression, anxiety, and urges, helping an individual make the most informed decisions for their continued sobriety.
Creating a Healthy Social Circle
Physical fitness can also lead to healthy social circles. Engaging in sports leagues can connect one with others of similar interests, gathering together for pick-up basketball, tennis, or any other sports of interest. Utilizing online communities can introduce an individual to these active social circles and help them practice their continued physical health while addressing social needs. Having hiking or biking buddies, going to yoga classes, or even joining a dog-walking group can all be ways to get one’s body moving while building new relationships in sobriety.
Improving Sleep Patterns
Getting a good night of sleep can be difficult throughout recovery. Anxiety and depression can lead to insomnia, and even when one does fall asleep, nightmares can leave one’s sleep feeling less than restful.
Sleep patterns also dictate how one feels throughout the day, with inconsistent sleep quickly leading to exhaustion, fatigue, or otherwise compromising morning routines and practices. Getting control of one’s sleep can be a major exercise in agency, and physical fitness can promote more healthy sleep schedules.
Physical activity can ensure that one expends pent-up energies and stresses throughout the day. It also makes the body more prepared to rest in order to recuperate for the following day. However, this isn’t the only way it can help, as exercise’s ability to help clear one’s mind and process stresses can also allow an individual to get to bed without harboring any distracting or destructive feelings of anxiety, depression, or other unwanted negative feelings.
Physical activity is a cornerstone of powerful and effective coping strategies, not only helping you process urges but also instilling healthy daily practices. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we embrace the need for your physical well-being as much as your emotional health, and we can create a program to help you embrace an active, healthy lifestyle with new experiences and opportunities each step of the way. We are a dedicated, supportive community that provides a unique approach and a Hawaiian rehabilitation practice to your daily needs, all while acting as an effective and proven drug and alcohol treatment center in Hawaii. We utilize the opportunities of the big island to create physical opportunities for your journey to a healthy future. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, or to speak to one of our caring, trained staff members about your unique needs, call (866) 390-5070.