My focus this edition is exercise and its benefit during recovery from drugs and/or alcohol abuse. If you aren’t already participating in a regular, vigorous exercise program, you should consider beginning one soon.
Of course, exercise has many proven health benefits and, given the nature of my readership, I don’t need to elaborate. For those reasons, you should already be participating in a regular exercise program. Sadly, if you are like most, you aren’t. But, did you know how your recovery would benefit from it? Without a doubt, it can.
As you already know, exercise is probably the best treatment for stress, anxiety, and depression, the most notorious reasons for alcohol and drug relapse. Exercise increases your body’s natural levels of endorphins, replacing the unnatural desire (craving) for alcohol and/or drugs. If you are already exercising regularly and gleaning it’s health benefits, you already know that the thought of using drugs and/or alcohol is counter to your much stronger desire to stay healthy.
All of us in recovery know the benefits of meditation for recovery. The Mayo Clinic describes exercise as “meditation in motion.” Probably as a result of the endorphin release, the Mayo website states that exercise can give you a “sense of command over your body and your life” and “help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.” I can attest to these statements and to the beneficial recovery-related effects of exercise, as I have practiced what I preach. Those of you who do exercise vigorously know well that feeling of euphoria, optimism, and self-confidence that occurs during and after an exercise session. In my experience, that mental/emotional benefit lasts for days!
Of course, not all of us are physically capable of vigorous exercise. The fact is that it doesn’t have to be real vigorous! Do what you are able and do so on a regular basis. Short of being quadriplegic, all of us are capable of participating in exercise more vigorous than our current level of activity. If you think you don’t have time to exercise, you are incorrect, as it’s simply a matter of priority. We all have enough time in each day to exercise if we decide it’s important enough for us to do so. Your health, especially your sobriety, is more important than anything else. What higher priority is there?
None of us can afford to relapse. Exercise is a truly enjoyable way to aid in preventing a relapse and will benefit us in many more ways than that. Can you think of a single reason why not to exercise?