In many ways, recovery from addiction means learning how to take care of yourself. Many addicts find that they don’t know how to do something as simple as feed themselves or tend to their health or even taking care of their hygiene by showering regularly. Part of recovery for many who are new to sober living is the essential lesson of taking good care of oneself.
Of course, exercise is a powerful form self-care because it has so many physical, emotional, and psychological benefits for the mind and body. In fact, because exercise has so many benefits, researchers are exploring how exercise can specifically facilitate the recovery process for those who are in sober living programs.
For example, two studies in 2010 confirmed that exercise could indeed improve the likelihood of sober living. One study, published in Biological Psychiatry found that those who exercised had less cravings for using their drug of choice and suffered less damage to the brain’s prefrontal cortex compared to those who did not exercise. And the second study, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health revealed that those who exercised had an improved quality of life. Participants of the study reported having more energy, better breathing, and felt better about their life in general.
There’s no question that recovery from addiction requires healing both the mind and body. An addiction is an illness that is both physical and psychological. It’s a disorder that is damaging to the body because of damaging thoughts in the mind. Healing both aspects of oneself is what exercise can do. In fact, exercise has the following benefits:
Physical Benefits of Exercise
- Weight loss and management
- Improves circulation
- Removes toxins from the body through sweating
- Strengthens the heart
- Improved muscle strength
- Boosts energy
- More restful sleep
- Improved circulation
Psychological Benefits of Exercise
- Improved self-image
- Relieves stress
- Improved mood
- Reduces anxiety and depression
- Provides a healthy hobby
- Sharpens mental skills
- Positive feelings surrounding taking care of oneself
Many sober living facilities and residential drug treatment centers are incorporating exercise into their programs. Transcend Recovery Community has partnered with Iron Fitness to provide their residents with a gym membership. A resident’s ability to attend the gym at his or her discretion makes it exercise easily accessible and the fact that exercise is encouraged by the Transcend community further supports getting fit as a pivotal part of the sober living program.
Transcend provides immense support to their residents, and the staff at Iron Fitness loves working with Transcend residents. In fact, staff members at Iron Fitness are eager to work one on one with residents to facilitate having their unique fitness needs met. The personal trainers can help residents set manageable goals to achieve weight loss, create a healthy lifestyle, and stay sober.
Sober living is not easy to cultivate if it’s a completely new way of life. It’s not only the end of using substances, but it’s also the beginning of seeing and living life in a new way. Part of this is taking good care of oneself through exercise, healthy eating, and healthy thinking. Recovery and long-term sober living are within reach when exercise is a regular part of daily living.