Staying Physically Fit Can Help You Recover From a Substance Use Disorder

Many people struggle with getting enough physical activity into their lives. Data from the CDC shows that half of adults in the United States don’t get enough exercise to meet the recommended guidelines. For people with addiction issues, staying fit can become even more of a challenge. Body by D Gym and Fitness Center wants to help you to understand why incorporating physical activity and other healthy habits into your lifestyle is important to your recovery process.

Physical Activity Reduces Cravings
When people are trying to stop using alcohol or other addictive substances, they often experience physical or psychological cravings for the item. These intense desires can lead to relapse. According to Gateway Foundation, vigorous exercise causes the body to release endorphins, creating a natural high that can help reduce these cravings.

Additionally, Cleveland Clinic notes that research has found exercise can improve feelings of accomplishment and increase confidence that a person can stay sober.

Exercise Improves Mental Health
In addition to the physical benefits of exercise, increasing activity provides multiple mental health benefits. Exercise may help restore brain cells that have been damaged by drug or alcohol use. It can also reduce stress and anxiety. Physical activity can improve the quality of sleep, sharpen thinking and contribute to a positive outlook. Exercise can also serve as a healthy coping mechanism in situations where addicts might have used drugs or alcohol in the past. 

Activities Deliver Benefits
Different types of activities have different benefits. Research has indicated that outdoor exercise can increase dopamine levels, which may help fight cravings. Outdoor activities to consider include walking, hiking, and riding a bike. Yoga may be a good choice for people who prefer a less intense activity that also helps reduce stress and anxiety. Lifting weights is particularly good for people who suffer from insomnia. Team sports can help recovering people establish friendships that may help them integrate back into society.

There are also benefits to making simple, healthier choices in your day-to-day routine. Instead of taking the elevator to work or to an appointment, take the stairs. Try walking to work or to store for errands or, if those places are too far to walk, try parking farther away or getting off the bus a few stops early to get in those steps.

Healthy Routines Take Work 
Building an effective fitness program requires structure, consistency, and planning. Establishing a regular daily routine is also beneficial for the recovery process. You can kick-start your procedure by building your daily schedule around healthy nutrition choices and consistent physical activity.

Start by establishing your fitness and nutrition goals. Plan out your menu for the week, including when you will set aside time to prepare healthy meals. Schedule specific times to eat and work out every day, but be sure to include appropriate rest periods to avoid overtraining. Stay motivated by working with a trainer and reading informative articles. It’s also important to tell your friends, family, or recovery team about your fitness goals so they can help you stay accountable. 

Tracking Progress Is Important
To determine whether your fitness routine is producing results, you must track your progress. If you prefer, you can do this by using a pencil and paper or an online tracking site, such as MyFitnessPal. However, these methods can be tedious and discourage some people from keeping good records.

Wearing a fitness tracker or smartwatch is a good way to automate the process. These devices can trace information such as steps taken, heart rate, calories burned, and more. Best of all, if you’re an entrepreneur, your smartwatch also functions as a taskmaster, meaning that you can keep tabs on work while you’re still focusing on working out.

Everyone’s recovery journey is a bit different. However, for most people, improving physical fitness is a good way to help heal the body and mind and increase the chances of a successful and lasting recovery.

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Body by D Gym and Fitness Center features fitness programs for everyone. Reach out today and ask about signing up! Call (757) 876-2069 or drop us a note for more information.