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The Mind-Body Connection: How Fitness Can Contribute to Your Recovery

fitnessMaking daily exercise a part of your sober living plan is perhaps the best way to keep your mind and body strong and ready for the hard work of recovery. The mental and physical benefits of being active are far-reaching. This includes reducing stress, anxiety and depression, which often co-occur with substance use disorders. Plus, a regular exercise routine can help you sleep better, manage anger, maintain focus, sustain a healthy weight and ward off arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer. Even if you dislike working out, it’s hard to dispute the many recovery benefits. One study published in Mental Health and Physical Activity found that exercise gave people being treated for a substance use disorder greater confidence in their ability to recover. And other research found that aerobic exercise can prevent the start, increase and relapse of the abuse of alcohol, nicotine, stimulants and opioids (heroin, morphine and fentanyl). The link between weight lifting and mood has also been study proven. Scientist discovered that the fitter you are (or the more muscle you have), the lower your stress hormones. According to researchers, strength training three times a week for six weeks resulted in a decrease of anger and increase in overall mood.

Exercise and Self-Esteem

Perhaps one of the best ways exercise can help your recovery is by increasing your levels of self-esteem. Working out can make you feel confident from the inside out; it’s about more than the physical changes you see in your body. Self-esteem is often defined as how you truly feel about yourself at your core. Finding and sticking with the right workout routine can help you feel like the best version of yourself, which boosts internal self-confidence. Not only will you meet goals (whether it’s gradually increasing your weights or duration of your run), but you’ll be creating a healthy routine that you can rely on for an instant mood boost and sense of accomplishment. Daily exercise can help make you feel capable and confident and productive – and this leads to increased self-esteem. And, of course, you’ll be setting the stage for a positive mindset to help you navigate the ups and downs of recovery.

Fitting in Fitness

So how much exercise do you need to reap the recovery benefits? Current Physical Activity Guidelines for adults recommend:

  • 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week.
  • Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (such as resistance or weights) on at least 2 days per week.
  • Less time sitting; even light-intensity activity can offset some of the risks of being sedentary.
  • Greater benefits by being active at least 300 minutes (5 hours) per week.
  • Increased amount and intensity of exercise gradually over time.

Physical Fitness at Spearhead

At Spearhead, we’ve seen firsthand how fitness can help our clients boost self-esteem and self-confidence and enhance their recovery. To this end, daily physical fitness is part of our routine. We offer an up-to-date fitness center where our clients can learn to use fitness equipment or resume previous levels of training. We also help our clients understand their body and how to maintain optimal health through regular exercise. To learn more about our extended care for young adults, call today: 888-483-0528.