Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Guest Post: Back on Track - How Fitness Helps Recovery

Statistics from 2014 reveal that 
21.5 million people aged 12 or 
older had a substance 
abuse disorder that year alone. 
Over the last 25 years, the 
addiction treatment industry 
has tripled in size, currently 
raking in about $35 billion in 
annual revenue. So it seems 
that, for all the money spent 
on addiction prevention, 
addiction still hasn’t been 
prevented. Instead, it morphed into a 
business, while the failsafe way to getting 
clean has been endlessly debated.

If you are recovering from drugs and alcohol, here are some tips to 
maintaining a healthy lifestyle to help you find your way onto the 

Back on Track

Perhaps the first step in picking up the pieces of your life after an addiction 
is not so much physical as mental and emotional. People who base their 
schedules and relationships around drugs for years often feel lonely or 
rudderless once they quit. One way to overcome this sense of isolation is 
to get a support network around you. That might include family, old friends, 
or other recovering addicts.

Also, take care of yourself: Get enough sleep. Eat healthy foods such as 
fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and omega-3 fish like salmon. Declutter 
your life. That could mean cleaning up your apartment, throwing out clothes 
you don’t wear, cutting people who are toxic out of your life, or deleting the 
apps that you don’t use off your iPhone. Whatever steps you take, make 
sure where and how you live is light, bright, open and full of possibility.

Get a Routine
Now that you’ve begun to address your mental health, turn to how you’re 
doing physically. Drugs wear down your body and fully recovering from them 
means adopting a healthy, active routine that you keep up through the years. 
A natural midway point between attending to your mental and physical states 
could be yoga, which focuses on deep-breathing, meditation, relaxing and 
staying in tune with your body. Biking, tennis, running, baseball, basketball, 
swimming and weightlifting are all solid options, too. Pick something you 
love, because you’ll keep doing it, rather than view it as a chore. Moreover, 
physical activity has been shown to sharpen memory, lower cholesterol, 
combat inflammation and fight off type 2 diabetes.

Anger and Addiction
Mental illness and substance addiction frequently co-occur. According to the 
Journal of the American Medical Association, roughly 50 percent of people who 
suffer a serious cognitive disorder abuse drugs. Anger, meanwhile, is often 
symptomatic of a range of mental problems including mania and depression 
in bipolar disorder, among others. After you go cold turkey from drugs, many 
factors may still cause you to become angry. These might include unpaid 
debts, broken friendships, or any that anxiety you may have harbored for 
years while on drugs.

Fitness has been shown to moderate anger by releasing chemicals such as 
serotonin and dopamine in your brain. So if you’re recovering from an addiction, 
do any of the exercises listed above to relax. If you are unable to control your anger
decide whether competitive sports fuel your stress or not. For instance, if you know 
that losing a game of pickup basketball will upset you, you might opt to drive out 
to a forest to hike through the pine air and feel at peace.

Finding your way out of the darkness of addiction is nearly a miracle. That’s 
why it’s important to keep moving. Exercise rewires our brain and helps stave 
off depression, so we can muster the strength to keep on the track that leads 
toward recovery.

Image via Unsplash

About the Author

Molly knows what it’s like having a loved one suffering from an addiction. Through 
her writing, she offers support and advice for those with addictions and their loved 
ones. Molly writes for RecoveryHope. She’s passionate about supporting those in 
recovery and their family and friends.

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