Photo courtesy of Pexels
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Corinthians 10:13
Physical fitness continues to offer us benefits every day that go far beyond just looks and strength. It is one of the most important factors in our overall health. It affects our mental state as well as our physical. Exercise can be a great asset in leading you on a path to recovery from addiction.
Anxiety, stress, and depression are oftentimes some of the leading factors that contribute to addiction. Substance abuse is seen as an outlet to alleviate these symptoms. As soon as the individual stops using the substance, the symptoms return and the cycle continues. The body and the mind are addicted to the substance. Physical exercise has been proven to lower both stress and anxiety, and even reduce cravings to a person’s drug of choice. Fighting the main causes of people turning to substance abuse is an important first step.
A great type of exercise to combat stress is weight lifting. Strengthening muscles in your back can also reduce pain in the lower back, neck, and shoulders – where we hold a lot of that extra tension. Lifting weights can also help you sleep better. Your body needs more rest after lifting, and this will also help build stronger bones.
Cardiovascular fitness is an important part of daily exercise as well. It has some of the same benefits as the other forms of exercise previously discussed. Running, walking, hiking, and jumping rope are different exercises you can do, and most don’t even require a gym. Besides the obvious contribution to heart health, cardio has been proven to help improve memory, mood, and sleep, increase energy, and fight stress.
Whether you are just getting into physical fitness or have been exercising for years, getting into a routine can help you stay on track. Pre-planning what days you will exercise and rest is important to avoid overtraining. Knowing what exercises you will be doing on your workout days will make your workout time more efficient. Plan your workout days so you do cardio almost every day, and alternate between back and triceps and chest and biceps weightlifting.
Depending on how you structure your day, it is often recommended to work out first thing in the morning. This way, you can avoid interruptions and having to cancel if something else pops up unexpectedly throughout the day. Morning workouts also boost metabolism and give your mind time to wake up and get ready for the day. Finally, be sure to track your success. A smartwatch is a great way to do so, just be sure you have a watch band that can withstand all of your activity! Incorporating routine workouts in your daily schedule and tracking your progress will help you make fitness an important part of your lifestyle, which will lead to less stress and help prevent substance abuse.
Being physically and mentally fit is important for everyone, but can be especially crucial for those recovering from addiction. Giving you something to focus on while also reducing some of the main causes of addiction will put you on a clear path to recovery. It’s important to incorporate different kinds of exercise like cardio, weightlifting, and stretching in order to achieve total fitness of the body and the mind. Rest is just as important as the exercise, so make sure to not do too much too fast to avoid having to stop due to injury or overtraining. Make your fitness part of your lifestyle so you can more easily maintain it throughout your everyday life. With all of these tips, you will be on a solid path to recovery.
The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12
by June Lawrence, Founder, RecoveryIsland.com