Addiction can feel all-encompassing and life-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. In addition to getting treatment, you should stay physically active. Physical fitness facilitates better recovery and can help you build an overall healthy lifestyle. Researchers have found that exercise can decrease withdrawal symptoms and ease anxiety from alcohol, nicotine, and hard drug addictions. Here are the best exercises to help you overcome your own addiction.
Just get outside
Walking is a simple yet overlooked activity that can remedy most mental ailments. Walking outside can make an even bigger difference. When you’re stuck inside, you’re stuck in your head, and it’s easy to get into old, addictive habits. If the weather permits it, start going for little walks outside around your neighborhood. If the weather’s a little tough, bundling up won’t hurt for even just a few minutes.
The International Journal of Environmental Research published a study on the mental and physical health benefits of exercising in nature. In addition, you don’t even have to live somewhere rural. Walking outside in pleasant urban environments will make a difference.
Sweat it out with cardio
Doing aerobic exercise is great for your mind. Not just your mental health, but your brain too. Studies have shown that exercise, both aerobic (cardio) and anaerobic (strength training), can help with depressive symptoms.
Aerobic exercise isn’t always the easiest to get into. Try to find exercises that interest you and suit your needs. You don’t need to run a marathon to overcome addiction. There are plenty of exercises out there that touch on cardio, from dancing in a Zumba class to bicycling.
Start lifting some weights
Weight lifting isn’t just for bodybuilders. According to the Los Angeles Times, muscle mass declines with age. It doesn’t mean it’s lost forever, but it does mean you have to work for it if you want it, and that comes through strength training.
Strength training doesn’t have to be unnecessarily complex. You can start off with bodyweight exercises including squats, lunges and push-ups. They’re overlooked because they’re so simple, and yet they strengthen so many different parts of the body.
If possible, look into getting a personal trainer to help you improve your form. You can get a trainer for just a few sessions to get an idea of what to do. There are increasingly more gyms and resources that purposely aim to help people overcome addiction. It helps to build up a community of people who have been in your shoes and want you to succeed.
Take care of your mental health
While exercise can help with mental health, it’s not a cure-all. Be patient with yourself as you get into physical fitness and work on building mental strength. There will be off days. You might compare yourself to other people’s strengths and progress and that can really bring you down.
Be sure to get enough sleep. It can help repair your body and help you exercise more. It also can improve your emotional stability. Eat healthier food, but don’t feel like you have to deprive yourself of everything you love. Build healthy relationships with people who care about you and want you to be happy. These can contribute to greater mental health as you recover.
Set up a foundation for the long-term
Once you’ve found some types of exercise you enjoy, be consistent with them. Try to replace your triggers with a different kind of reward, whether it’s eating a tasty snack or watching a funny cat video online. Take breaks from sitting during the day by going for 10-minute walks. Schedule workouts when you can, and if it helps, ask a friend to join you. Nothing beats a good support system.
Physical fitness is an excellent method to help facilitate addiction recovery. Choose exercises that best suit your needs. Don’t feel like you need to do everything at once. With treatment and patience, you can overcome addiction. If you are interest in how we can help at CrossFit Zanshin please contact Coach Pete, your privacy will be respected.