Exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, release endorphins, and improve one’s health as you continue your addiction recovery. A review of the considerable research into the subject suggests that exercise may be a potent way to normalize brain function and treat drug and alcohol addiction. However, if you’re in the early stages of addiction recovery, you’re probably not in the habit of exercising regularly. Even if you received fitness therapy in rehab, it’s not easy to carry on those habits once you’re released.
When you first start making regular exercise a part of your daily life, it’s important to remember to honor your abilities and keep things simple. You don’t need to become a professional athlete or a total fitness fanatic in order to benefit from exercising regularly. It will be easier to change your exercise habits if you commit to a regular workout, set attainable goals, take inspiration from role models who look like you, and practice visualizing yourself exercising successfully and enjoyably.
Ease Into a Workout Routine
It’s helpful for many people who are beginning a new workout routine to think of fitness as a new hobby. Exercising regularly will be more interesting if you choose to get active in a variety of ways, and explore activities that you enjoy. But you don’t need to buy a lot of equipment or take up a complicated new sport in order to benefit from exercise. A simple, low-key routine, like walking for 30 minutes several days a week can help to heal your brain and body once you leave a drug treatment program for men. In addition to walking, you could take a yoga class, go for a bike ride, begin a garden, or clean the house. If you need additional motivation, consider training for an event like a fun run or a backpacking trip.
Commit to Your Workouts
In order to reap the most benefits from exercise you need to do it regularly and in order to do it regularly you should commit to exercising on a schedule. If you’re a morning person, you may decide to go for a run or hit the gym every morning before work. If you’re a night owl, you may want to take in an evening yoga class or go for a walk after work. Scheduling set workout times adds structure to your days and helps you burn up some of the free time that you used to spend finding and using from using drugs. Scheduled workouts also give you a reason not to use drugs or alcohol on those days when urges are particularly strong. Training for a marathon, hiking trip, or other event in the future adds a further layer of motivation to stay sober.
Set Realistic Goals
Attainable fitness goals help you build confidence and make progress, both of which can help make it easier to stick to your workout routine and achieve even more complex fitness goals in the future. Remembering an exercise success in the past makes it easier to find the motivation to keep up the good work. Current success is also a great motivator.
Find Role Models Who Look Like You
Fitness role models who remind you of yourself — people of the same gender, body type, and age — who are successfully doing the kinds of exercises you’d like to do make it easier to visualize doing the same routine yourself. Seeing others who are like you succeed at a particular workout routine makes you feel more confident about your own chances of success.
Visualize Yourself Exercising
When you’re having problems drumming up the willpower to get started on your exercise routine, it can really help to visualize yourself doing the routine enjoyably and successfully. If you’ve had a long, hard day and you don’t think you can summon the energy to go for your customary walk or to attend your regular yoga class, imagine yourself doing the exercise routine and don’t forget to picture yourself enjoying it.
Be realistic; acknowledge that you’ll probably start out feeling tired or that the routine may be difficult at first, but then picture yourself becoming more invigorated and energized as your muscles warm up and the routine becomes easier. Be detailed in your visualization; picture the sights, sounds, and smells of the gym, class, pool, or route as well as imagining the physical sensations of the workout routine. As you begin to picture yourself enjoying your workout, you’ll feel more motivated to do it.
A regular exercise routine can be a valuable tool on your road to recovery from addiction, but it can be hard to establish one, especially if you’re not used to exercising. By setting realistic goals and committing to your new fitness hobby, you’ll make establishing a regular workout routine easier. Exercising may be difficult at first, but before you know it, you’ll come to look forward to your workouts as one of the most enjoyable parts of your day.