The mental health benefits of physical activity are countless. Exercise is not just about aerobic capacity and muscle size. Sure, exercise can improve your physical health and your physique. Additionally, people who exercise regularly often feel an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic during the day,they sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. Exercise is also powerful medicine for individuals battling with the disease of addiction. Here are just a few of the many ways physical activity can assist individual on their journey toward a healthier life.
- Keeping Busy
When you prioritize physical activity it necessarily eats up part of your schedule. Regular workouts are also specific times that force you to focus on what you’re doing and to live in the present. A daily workout makes it easier to keep boredom, stressful thoughts and thoughts about using at bay. Even if going to the gym or out for a run isn’t the most fun you’ve ever had, consider the post-workout benefits: increased energy, better mood, reduced stress, clearer thinking.
- Sleeping Better
Addiction is known to disrupt many bodily functions, including circadian rhythms, making it difficult to fall or stay asleep without your drug of choice. As your body gradually returns to a healthier, balanced state, exercise helps to restore a normal sleep cycle. And, more importantly, your body heals faster when you’re well-rested.
- Heal Your Brain
You probably already know that being physically active helps to stave off Type II diabetes, heart disease and it also boosts your immune system. Even better for those in recovery, research shows that regular workouts increase the number of new nerve connections in the brain, which helps the brain more quickly recover from the effects of substance use.
- Anger Management
It’s common for recovering addicts to have trouble dealing with rage and feelings of frustration. Because of your addiction, you may not have learned to express these emotions in a healthy way. Going for a run, lifting weights or even hitting a punching bag can help you manage anger and frustration without relapsing.
There will be times when you may feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. Exercise can become your go-to tool to reduce stress, regain composure and do something proactive for your recovery. Similarly, when you experience a crisis, whether major or minor, it’s helpful to have a workout regimen to rely on to get you through the rough period.
- Self Esteem
Like anything new you learn, the more you do it, the better you get at it. If you’ve never felt like much of an athlete, start where many people do — with a simple walking program of 10 or 15 minutes at a time. Gradually increase your walks to 45 minutes or an hour, or move up from walking twice a week to daily. As you add more time and/or intensity to your regimen, you’ll see the physical and mental health benefits that come with it and you’ll start to feel stronger and more competent in other areas of your life, including your ability to meet the challenges you face in recovery. Vigorous physical activity also promotes changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirit and make you feel good.
The Manor of Hope team firmly believes in providing our residents with the best resources available to assist them in their journey to a healthier life. This includes a state of the art, gym studio in which our residents can perform a variety of exercise routines and traditional weight lifting and cardiovascular workouts, as well as other forms of exercise such as boxing, cross fit. Our program also includes regular outings that involve physical activity in peaceful natural settings such as hiking, cycling, canoeing, kayaking and much more. All of this is done under the supervision of our highly qualified staff.
For additional information about our comprehensive services, please email us at [email protected]