We’ve been told in various ways as we grew up that exercise is healthy for us. From playing outside as a kid, to lifting weights at a local gym, exercise seems to take form in the lives of many Americans.
From personal experience, we know that physical movement is helpful for the body. The mind-body connection has become increasingly important in the United States, and it has been found that exercise also does wonders for our mental health.
The National of Institute of Health tells us that physical activity and exercise provide substantial help with self-image, social skills and critical thinking skills. If these things are improved, an addict in recovery is less likely to turn to drugs and alcohol to relieve mental health stress.
Here are some fun fitness ideas from New England Recovery & Wellness that will keep you strong and healthy while you’re on your recovery journey.
Practice Mindfulness with Yoga
Yoga has taken over the United States as a popular way to connect the mind and body. A survey by the Yoga Alliance found that in 2012 alone, there were 36.7 million people in the US who actively practice yoga.
This number has only grown. We see yoga brands advertising all over our social media. There has to be a reason that people are loving this practice.
Yoga can be defined in many ways. Simply put, it is a practice that combines mental, physical and spirituals ideals and movements that bring about mindfulness.
From the outside, it seems that it’s just a bunch of moving around slowly and stretching. In actuality, Yoga-lovers are focused on their breath as well and letting their brain relax.
How Does This Help An Addict?
There are many reasons why people choose to take drugs. We will never be able to get into the mind of someone who chose this path. Issues surrounding addiction are very specific to the individual. But, there are some patterns in the causes of drug addiction. Some possible reasons are:
- Childhood household
- Co-Occurring disorders
- Prescription drug abuse
In these cases, a lot of emotional pain is involved. If yoga is used as a way to live in the moment and focus on breath, it is fair to say that yoga can be used to help someone that feels lost in the past.
The idea is that breathing helps us to live in the moment, and that the poses can take up our thoughts to shift emotional pain to the back burner, as we practice to perfect the poses. These poses are a distraction.
Relieve Pent Up Anger with Boxing
Boxing is a great way to blow off some steam. Scientifically speaking, it is a very intense exercise choice which increases our bodies endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals in the body that fight pain and stress.
Being an addict in recovery comes with some hardship. Possibly there is some stress because addiction treatment becomes a way to confront traumatic or painful thoughts. Also, addiction treatment is a huge change in lifestyle.
There is also possibly some pain involved in going to rehab because withdrawal symptoms from many drugs brings on muscle aches. Moderate exercise like boxing, that releases pain-relieving hormones is great way for muscles to stay in shape. Because you can rest in between rounds of boxing, the muscles have time to recharge.
Strengthen Your Spirit with Hiking
In the past, you may have experienced that being outside for a few minutes does wonders for the mood. This is why hiking is a great way to relax and exercise all at once.
A study done by our good friends at The National Institute of Health back this up, saying that going on a 3 hour hike shows increased positive affect or mood.
Mental health can make us feel down in the dumps sometimes. In recovery, you’re going to have great days and really low days. It is important to have a way to cope. Going outside, observing the beauty of nature and exercising can take your mind off of your mental health and keep you in the present.
As with any new lifestyle change, there’s no better time to start than right now. Check out local places that offer yoga, boxing and hiking groups.
Just as these exercise choices help your body and mind, they also introduce you to new subcultures and friends. This is a great way to expand your support team of loved ones and try new things.
If you would like to do these activities with other recovering addicts, look into Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous where recovering addicts of drugs and alcohol come together to support one another.