Healing Your Body Through Exercise in Recovery
February 17th, 2016
Physical exercise is a tool used in many rehab centers to aid in the rehabilitation process. Whether it is done inside at a gym or outdoors in nature, incorporating exercise in everyday life improves the health of both the body and the mind, and encourages healthy lifestyles for those in recovery. Increased endurance, strength, and overall health can greatly boost the success of rehabilitation in many ways.
Promoting Positive Body Image
Healthy changes can drastically improve the recovery process. The idea of “one small step” to greatness leads those in recovery to take additional steps to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise can also boost confidence by promoting a positive body image. Addiction can lead to a stagnant lifestyle, which can be reversed by introducing a gradual exercise routine. Focusing on exercise and positive change can provide a sense of hope and new beginnings.
In the first stages of rehabilitation, a detoxification process is often required. During this period, some level of discomfort may be experienced due to withdrawal. Exercise can provide a healthy distraction to those in recovery. The body’s natural reaction to exercise can also aid in the detox process. For instance:
- Natural endorphins are secreted in the central nervous system, promoting a positive mood and aiding in pain management.
- Toxins from the body can be carried out through sweat and increased circulation, which may accelerate the detox process.
- Exercise stimulates vital organs in the body, significantly improving kidney, respiratory, and liver function.
- Exercise promotes improved sleep, counteracting the occurrence of rebound insomnia.
In addition to mitigating detox, the body’s reaction to exercise can deflect the occurrence of relapse. Studies have shown great success for those who engaged in physical activity during recovery, versus those who remained stagnant.
Aside from the physical benefits, exercise gives those in recovery an objective and a focus. But building up strenuousness gradually is important, as many people recovering from addiction find exercise difficult at the beginning. Use the abilities you already have to gradually build strength and endurance. Consider these ideas when starting an exercise regimen:
- Stay hydrated throughout the day and eat light meals to boost energy before a workout.
- Physical activity stimulates gastric movement and can cause stomach upset if a heavy or greasy meal is consumed.
- Gradually increase your workout each day, setting goals to build strength and endurance.
- Keep a journal and mark all significant physical activity (walking the dog, swimming, etc.).
- Create an upbeat playlist to motivate you to move.
- Take time to stretch and rest when needed.
- Treat yourself to a good workout outfit, if possible.
- Join a gym with physical trainers on staff. Professional trainers specialize in gradual strength and endurance training and can ease the transition into more advance physical activity.
- Tell friends and family about your goals. Be proud of the changes you’re making for your body.
Whether or not the exercise is competitive in nature, a sense of accomplishment is felt when a goal is met. Seeing strength and endurance develop over time can further enforce the importance of goals. This is a key lesson in recovery, especially while working to establish a normal routine.
A New Lease on Life
Exercise is a valuable tool on the road to rehabilitation. Positive health choices often overflow into all facets of life, easing the healing transition for those in recovery. Caring for your body and mind are essential steps in regaining control. While rehabilitation is not an easy process, exercise can significantly improve the likelihood that the treatment will stick, leading to lasting sobriety and a new lease on life.
To learn more about this topic and others like it, please contact TreeHouseRehab.org today.