Whether you are in shape, overweight, malnourished, or anywhere along the spectrum, exercise is an amazing tool in recovery. Exercise and recovery go together well because when we are using, we exercise very little. Our eating habits are often unhealthy. We sit around, use, and do not utilize our bodies. When we get sober, we often feel like doing the same, as our minds are running, we are full of anxiety, and we want to lie in bed all day.
Benefits of Exercise in Recovery
There are many benefits of exercising. The most important point to mention is that exercise releases dopamine in the brain. When we exercise, it keeps our dopamine receptors working and prevents them from dying off. As we exercise, we are physically providing ourselves with the happiness chemical. One day at a time, and over an extended period of time, exercise helps create happiness. If we do not exercise or utilize these dopamine receptors, the brain prunes them off in order to increase efficiency.
As we exercise in recovery, we get rid of much negativity. Exercising is a fantastic way to get rid of anxiety, anger, worry, restlessness, racing thoughts, and many many more emotions. Working at a dual-diagnosis treatment center, I see many clients join us with anxiety disorders and anger issues. They resist exercise as much as they possibly can. However, when they finally begin exercising, they invariably admit to feeling the benefits. As somebody who deals with anxiety and extreme anger myself, I find exercise to be absolutely invaluable in my recovery. Exercising is one of my most useful tools when I am feeling any negative feeling.
Finally, when we exercise in recovery, we are taking contrary action and building esteem. For many of us, exercise and taking care of our health are not things we have been doing. When we begin to exercise, we begin to feel better about ourselves. Whether we are losing weight, gaining weight, or remaining at the same weight, exercise helps us feel better about ourselves. We are active, get outside, and ultimately are happier.
Ways to Exercise in Recovery
There are many simple ways to exercise without going to a gym or exercising in a tedious manner. Some of us may be gym rats, but if you are like myself, the thought of going to a gym feels like going to work. There are ways to exercise in a more relaxed, peaceful manner.