Sobriety is full of hard work, and the last thing you may feel like doing is to add in a strenuous exercise regime. However, a regular fitness routine can contribute lasting benefits that carry over into your other efforts to maintain your sobriety. Individual and group counseling provides the mental framework for your recovery, but exercise can help bring your body in line with your new healthy lifestyle.
Studies have shown that regular exercise-as little as 20 minutes a day, three times a week-can greatly improve the results of other areas of your recovery program. Research has demonstrated that exercise can provide a sense of accomplishment, increased strength, enhanced well-being, improved physical fitness and increased confidence in sobriety. Incorporating a workout routine into your daily schedule can also help you to deal with stress better and provides the opportunity to make new friends who share your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
Benefits of Exercising
- Exercise releases endorphins, the natural, feel-good chemicals in your brain that mute pain and provide you with a sense of well-being that can border on euphoria
- Exercise occupies the free time you now find yourself with that was formerly taken up by substance use
- Exercise helps you sleep better, combatting the insomnia some people experience in early recovery
- Exercise provides a way to work through anger without harming yourself or others
- Exercise provides your mind and body with the discipline necessary to cope with cravings and stress in a healthy and balanced way
- Exercise shows you how strong you can be and how ready your body is to heal, which builds self-confidence
If you don’t already live an active lifestyle, beginning an exercise routine can seem daunting. It’s ok to start small: go for a walk, take the stairs instead of the elevator or splash around in the ocean or nearest pool. Get used to the feeling of moving your body intentionally, and build up your endurance slowly. As your strength and mobility increase, begin adding in cardio exercises and weightlifting sessions and watch the benefits of a healthy lifestyle begin to accumulate.
Alexis Edwards, Crossroads Centre Antigua’s certified fitness trainer, says that his responsibilities are multifaceted and include physical assessments for each client prior to their engagement in an exercise plan, creating and supervising exercise programs, providing personal training tailored to meet each client’s needs, documenting progress and providing relevant information to clients about how each exercise affects the musculoskeletal system.
“Working at Crossroads has been a life-changing transformation for me,” Alexis says. “This experience has given me the opportunity to understand and embrace the many challenges that life presents and the knowledge and fortitude to address them.”