Addiction recovery can be difficult and leave you feeling debilitated. Staying focused on your health and putting substance abuse behind you needs effort. When it comes to strategies and lifestyle choices that can help, exercise is one of the best.
Exercising and making choices to incorporate it into your life can do wonders for your health. More than only taking your mind off things, it builds a strong, healthier, and more resilient you. Exercise helps you overcome your substance abuse and stay on top.
Read on for eight reasons why exercise helps you in maintaining sobriety.
1. Keeps Your Mind Clear and Focused
One of the first things you’ll struggle with is a lack of focus. If your addiction is particularly bad then the recovery process could be rough. You aren’t alone, as almost 14 million Americans struggle with alcohol and know how difficult it is.
No matter how strong your willpower is, your thoughts will return to substance use.
Exercise can help with this by giving your brain a clear task to focus on. When running, playing sports, or in the gym, you aren’t thinking about other things. You can throw yourself into the workout at hand, especially if you turn exercise into a hobby.
If your thoughts start to wander, bring them back to the game, set, or path you’re on. You can focus on your form and the specific muscles you want to target. If running long distances, an audiobook or music can help keep your mind off of substance use.
2. Setting Goals and Reaching Them
Exercise allows you to set realistic goals and then reach them. Beyond working out to take the mind of your recovery, you can strengthen your resolve. To do this, you need to establish what health benefits you want to achieve, and then work towards them.
Set a body weight goal or a target point you want to reach – a weight you’d like to lift or a running time you want to beat. Keep track of your goals in a notebook or on your phone. By being serious about your long-term goals, you’ll feel motivated to persevere.
Exercise goals give you something to look forward to and a way to measure your progress. No one gets fit in a day or recovers from the damage of substance abuse in a week. The key to maintaining long term sobriety is to keep going even after your initial recovery.
3. Establishes Routines
Another aspect of exercise that aids in addiction recovery is establishing routines. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your recovery. It will be tough work, so you need a set of routines.
If you want to reach your health goals and maintain your recovery, you need to do the same things on a regular basis. Set a schedule for exercising, recovering, sleeping, and eating. The schedule can be whatever you want, but keep it consistent.
Your body clock needs to get adjusted to the new and healthy lifestyle direction you’ve taken. Having routines will help with motivation as well, and keep you accountable. A basic routine and schedule outside of exercising will also keep you on track.
4. Healthy Peer Pressure
When it comes to maintaining sobriety, one of the best parts of exercising is community. It doesn’t matter if you go to the gym or go jogging, the health community is friendly and open-minded. Finding a group of people to work out with can replace negative peer pressure with positive ones.
You’ll keep each other accountable and help push each other. A mix of experience will also help newcomers improve. Building these connections will help you stay strong in your battle against addiction.
5. Honoring Commitments
This is a side effect of setting goals, keeping a schedule, and building relationships. By exercising, especially within a community or group of friends, you’ll learn how to honor commitments. These can be commitments to your friends who you promised to gym with or yourself to get better.
You’ll have expectations that will keep you focused on your goals, and will have made a solemn promise to keep going.
6. Staying on the Right Path
Once you start your journey to getting healthier through exercise, the path will open to you. The positive benefits of exercise will snowball into more positivity and keep you from relapsing. As long as you take exercising seriously, it will develop into a strong support system.
Exercising will keep you away from the wrong path by giving you a healthier one to follow. The mindset, routines, and relationships you develop will keep you orientated in the right direction.
7. Heightens Self-Awareness
Those still considering how to maintain sobriety through exercise should realize this aspect. Exercise can heighten your self-awareness and make you recognize things you never knew. Everything from your relationship with food to social habits and work ethic will become obvious.
For example, you may realize how substance abuse filled a need now taken over by exercise. A proper diet will make you aware of how much alcohol you used to consume, while cardio will show you how bad your lungs have gotten from smoking. The more seriously you take exercising, the more aware you’ll become of what’s best for you.
8. Facilitates Holistic Growth
Exercise will have health benefits far beyond your recovery. It helps with stamina, alertness, getting proper sleep, and especially mental health. A net positive of these is that they all facilitate holistic growth.
Your willpower will get stronger, as will your emotional and physical well-being. Your relationships with family and friends will also improve. They say a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, which holds for maintaining your recovery.
Maintaining Sobriety Is Easier with Exercise
If you’re having difficulty maintaining sobriety, then exercise can help. It gives you something healthy to focus on and leads to good long-term lifestyle choices. Additionally, exercise can become a strong support system pushing you onward.
When it comes to addiction recovery, we at Serenity Grove know how difficult the road can be. We have state-of-the-art facilities and abundant resources to lead to successful lifetime recovery. Give us a call today, and let’s take the next step together.