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When entering sobriety, it is recommended that people maintain a healthy lifestyle. The new schedule should include time for meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) as well as time for positive connections such as family members and friends that support your sobriety. A great way to help maintain sobriety is to start healthy habits and routines such as exercising.
Exercise is in no way a cure for addiction, however it can be a helpful aid in treatment and recovery. For some, it can serve as a distraction and for others it’s a way to appropriately cope and release stress. It’s also been found that during exercise, natural endorphins are released which causes and safe and natural high.
Routines can include yoga, hiking, walking, biking, strength training, and jogging. Team sports are also a great way to stay busy, get a workout, and surround yourself with like-minded friends. Even competing in obstacle course races or rock climbing walls can help boost self-confidence and sense of accomplishment which is also beneficial during recovery.
Per addiction.com, here are some benefits for exercise:
Exercise fills up your time — in a good way. When you prioritize physical activity it necessarily eats up part of your schedule.
You’ll sleep more soundly. As your body gradually returns to a healthier, balanced state, exercise also helps to restore a normal sleep cycle.
You’ll heal your body and mind. Even better for those in recovery, research shows that regular workouts increase the number of new nerve connections in the brain, which helps it heal from the effects of substance use.
Working out offers an outlet for anger. It’s common for recovering addicts to have trouble dealing with rage and feeling frustrated; because of your addiction, you may not have learned to express these emotions in a healthy way.
Being active makes it easier to de-stress and weather a crisis. Exercise can become your go-to tool to reduce stress, regain composure and do something proactive for your recovery, all at the same time.
Exercise builds self-confidence. Like anything new you learn, the more you do it, the better you get.