How Getting Active Can Help You Heal
Updated: Oct 5
Recovery is a holistic endeavor — it is a journey that engages your body, mind and soul. And in a way, it must be a whole-person experience in order to be successful long term. Investments that you make in one area of your life for the better will automatically benefit your recovery. So when you dedicate yourself to a stronger personal fitness regimen, you are investing in your recovery and future.
Fitness for the Whole Person
During recovery, you are focused primarily on healing from your addiction. It can feel like it takes every part of you to heal well from the life you have become accustomed to, and it does. However, because fitness also has holistic benefits, when you exercise, you are better fit to continue in recovery.
When we decide to get sober, balance has to become a huge part of our life! Getting yourself physically fit will take time along with the spiritual, too. It can be done! A healthy workout, diet, and routine are all needed to jumpstart your sobriety.
Fitness benefits include the following:
Body – The most obvious benefits to working out are physical. Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and builds your endurance. Strength training specifically builds muscle in particular areas of the body. Stretching is a good companion to all forms of exercise, keeping your body limber and agile.
Mind – When someone begins fighting symptoms of depression and anxiety, one of the first recommendations will be to exercise regularly. Exercise lowers stress, clears the mind and improves outlook and self-esteem. These benefits add to helping you feel good about yourself and life and give you mental stamina to continue in recovery.
Soul – Forms of exercise often become hobbies for people. It is something to look forward to and depend on. You are also likely to meet others and build relationships with them. In fact, many people find that all of their relationships benefit when they are exercising and feeling better personally.
Finding Fitness That Is Fun
Some people feel overwhelmed when they hear the word fitness. However, pursuing greater fitness doesn’t have mean you must exercise in a gym — although you can do that too. There are so many ways to get active and get your heart rate up.
Try these activities as a starting point:
Walking and running – Many people start by simply going on walks or runs. There are even apps to help you build your endurance or track your progress.
Yoga – Yoga is great for the body and the mind. Being mindful while working out and taking the time to breath will have benefits long after the class is over.
Hiking and climbing – Being outdoors in the fresh air often is worthwhile all on its own, but hiking and climbing give you a goal to accomplish, usually\ with the promised reward of a great view at the end.
Group fitness – Exercising with others can provide encouragement and accountability. Many local gyms and fitness centers offer group classes that can make a workout extra fun.
Sports leagues – For those who miss the days of high school and college football, basketball, baseball and the like, finding an adult sports league can be a great way to be active. Being connected to a team will also help support your recovery.
Joining a gym – For many people, the atmosphere of the gym is something to look forward to. Meeting with a personal trainer to develop a personalized plan may be a good place to start as you get back into working out.
Whatever you do, choosing to be active regularly will help you in your recovery.
Help Healing Through Fitness
If you or a loved one is struggling to stay sober, we’re here to provide support and resources.
By Becca Owens
A writer for Heroes in Recovery.
Heroes in Recovery has a simple mission: to eliminate the social stigma that keeps individuals with addiction and mental health issues from seeking help, to share stories of recovery for the purpose of encouragement and inspiration, and to create an engaged sober community that empowers people to get involved, give back, and live healthy, active lives.