Working Out Recovery
The Role of Fitness in Recovery
Staying clean and sober is more than not drinking or using. It is also about caring for your well-being as a whole, and the right fitness routine can help you find the healthy balance of body, mind, and spirit. Read on to discover the ways fitness and exercise can benefit and play an important role in addiction recovery, as well as which activities can produce the maximum health benefits.
There is a reason it is called recovery: your body, mind, and spirit all have major healing to do. Starting some kind of fitness routine can help keep your sobriety on-track and promote healing both inside and out. Best of all, there are endless options, no matter your athleticism or interests, that all have amazing benefits.
Whether you implement a formal exercise routine or simply find ways to lead a more active life in general, working on your physical health is an important part of the healing process.
The Benefits of Getting Fit in Recovery
Cutting substances out of your life comes with multiple stressors on both the body and mind. Your body has to learn how to function in sobriety, and you may experience withdrawal symptoms during detox. While dealing with this, your mind is sending signals that you need your drug of choice to feel ‘okay’. It can leave you feeling confused, frustrated and overwhelmed at times, especially if attempting to go cold-turkey – which is part of why so many people relapse without professional treatment.
Programs at The Lighthouse Bali all include an element of fitness or exercise. Whether it is a daily walk on the beach or a work out at the gym, having a healthy outlet for relieving your stress isn’t just a good idea in recovery; it’s crucial.
Exercise is one of the healthiest, most positive and rewarding forms of stress relief. When you start moving your body, you’ll get a mood-lifting boost of endorphins that can almost immediately alleviate stress levels and anxiety. Exercise will also relax you. It works with the mind-body connection to burn off the frustrated energy you are constantly building up and give you something healthy to focus on. You might not be able to instantly get to the root of your problems or find the right words to make things right with friends and family, but you can start stretching every day and eating more healthy foods. It is important to have tangible goals that can remind you of how strong you truly are and give you the confidence to power on. Our fitness professionals will set achievable goals during your treatment as well as goals to work towards when you return home. This is an important part of our relapse prevention modules which are included in all programs at The Lighthouse Bali.
No matter what your drug of choice, your body likely has some resulting damage from your substance abuse. Keep in mind that depending on your circumstances, your health issues may require that you don’t over-exert yourself within the first few weeks of sobriety. Putting too much strain on the body while it is getting over the shock of detoxification can be dangerous, so it is important to talk to your doctor about what is right for you. That said, certain fitness routines often help promote the body’s healing process.
If you grew sedentary during your drinking or using, getting outside and walking can improve your flexibility, mobility, and cardiovascular health. It can lower your blood pressure, improve circulation, and even reduce the risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases. What may seem like small steps toward improved fitness are actually significant, and the results often develop more quickly than you’d expect.
Numerous research studies have shown that working out may also help reduce addiction-related withdrawal symptoms and lessen cravings. This is because the endorphins released during exercise are the same ones that were triggered by your drug of choice — it is the same kind of boost, but in a healthy form. Exercise can be your outlet when you are feeling tempted to drink or use (just so long as it doesn’t become an addiction in itself), and though you might not always look forward to it, by the end you will truly feel better.
A final point is that exercise can be social too. Joining a sports club or sports team is a great way to meet other like minded people and having a team or workout partner boosts motivation.
Recommended Forms of Fitness
The beauty of fitness is that there is really no “wrong” way to do it. You can try whichever activities or regimens you like and change things up at any time. Below are some different types of exercise which you can try to see what works best for you and your recovery — and remember, this is a great time to try something new.
Yoga is an excellent way to maximize the benefits of exercise. Not only is it amazing for your body, but it implements meditation, as well. Yoga teaches you to focus only on the present moment and current task at hand. Letting go of your worries and struggles with recovery, even briefly, can be the best medicine for you. Yoga can help you learn to calm your mind and ease your anxieties, and you may even find that meditation alone can help you overcome moments of temptation. In most areas, you can find classes for every level of experience, from beginner to advanced. Classes are typically held at yoga shalas (a gathering place for yoga classes), at local gyms and recreation centers. There are also an abundance of online guides and YouTube videos. that can help you get started.
It is not necessary to hike a mountain in order for it to be beneficial to your health and recovery; in fact, simply being outside in nature has enormous therapeutic benefits. Going for a hike through the park or in the woods near your home is a great way to exercise, get some fresh air, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin (and the resulting mood-lifting dose of vitamin D), and gain perspective. It is important to remember in recovery that the world is a big place and, thankfully, there is more out there than just your addiction and your past. The world is also an incredibly beautiful place, and it can be easy to lose sight of that when you are facing so many ugly pieces of your past. Hiking can be a healthy reminder that there is so much more to be grateful for in the sober world than there ever was when you were using. Here in Sanur, we have a beautiful walking path along the side of the beach which is perfect for those in treatment.
Swimming is an excellent option for those who have physical pain or damage following their substance abuse because it makes your body buoyant. This allows you to exercise without the pressure on your joints and muscles. Whether you swim laps, participate in water aerobics, or anything in-between, you can work any muscle area at any intensity. The calming effect of water can be soothing in itself, and may even end up becoming the part of your day that you look forward to the most.
Most people love the liberating feeling of busting a move on the dance floor, and it is a wonderful option for your recovery fitness routine. Dancing can lower stress, improve your mood, get your heart pumping, and increase your energy and flexibility. If you have the opportunity to try a class, choose something you will be excited about going to — even if you have never tried that style before. You can create your own dance exercise routine at home, or buddy up with a partner to go to a dance studio. Whatever your style, dancing gives you an escape from the frustrations of recovery, a hobby to focus on, and healthy fun you can enjoy just about anywhere!
Additional Activities for People with Disabilities, Pregnant Women, and Seniors
It is important to always consult your doctor if any of the above considerations apply to you, but there are still many forms of exercise that can bring benefits without health complications. Adaptive sports are an excellent choice for people with disabilities, and joining a local sport or recreational center is the perfect way to meet new people. (This is especially important if most of your friends are still living addicted lives).
You might not consider gardening a form of exercise but it is a very low-impact and adaptable exercise that can produce incredible results. If you choose to grow fruit or vegetables, you will have the added health benefit of a more nutritious diet.
Playing with Children/Pets:
If you are a parent or grandparent, you might discover that you can get plenty of exercise by playing in the backyard with the kids. Even taking the dog for a walk or to the dog park can get you outside and active, and all the better if you bring a friend and get some social time in, too.
If your circumstances are particularly complex, you can work with your physician or a specialist to find an exercise routine that is right for you. It might take some planning, but in the end, you’ll find an activity that works your body, relaxes your mind, and gives you something to look forward to.
Incorporating Healthy Habits
Maybe you do not have the time or finances for any kind of formal fitness routine, or you are giving your body time to repair itself. It could even be that amid everything else, the idea of coming up with yet another new responsibility feels overwhelming. That’s OK — there are still ways you can work activity and healthy habits into your everyday life!
The first step is to constantly look for opportunities to be more active. Maybe you take the stairs to the third floor instead of the elevator or give up that prime parking spot upfront for one a little further back. Each extra step counts, and they all add up over time. The more you get into the habit of looking for exercise, the easier it will be to find.
You can also start making healthier eating choices to really reinforce that mind-body connection. Putting more nutritious food in your body can not only lift your energy, but it can also really make you feel better, and in turn, boost your mood. It can raise your confidence to make the conscious effort to eat healthier; now that you are healing, you have set an important, high standard for yourself to stay on the right track.
The truth is exercise is good for you whether you are in the midst of attaining lasting sobriety or not, but implementing it into your recovery can make a meaningful difference in the process. Staying clean means caring for your well-being as a whole, and the right fitness routine can help you find the healthy balance of body, mind, and spirit.
Inpatient Care and Rehab
The Lighthouse Bali’s proven combination of an initial Primary Inpatient Program followed by Outpatient Care and Ongoing Therapy has helped alcohol addicts from around the world get their lives back on track. Through individually tailored treatment, professional therapy, medically assisted detox (if required), and compassionate support, you will be given the tools you need to ensure the best possible chances for long term recovery.
If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, we urge you to reach out and contact us in confidence. Our private programs are tailor-made to suit individual needs and our doctorate level clinical staff have extensive experience in the field of addiction.
If you are not currently in Bali but would like to begin a recovery program immediately, contact us as we will be able to arrange a VISA for entry into Indonesia.
We also have online recovery options available which can be taken should you not wish to travel.
To talk to one of our team members, contact us on WhatsApp or by Phone. Alternatively, send us an email and we will either answer your questions in writing or call you back, according to your preference: Contact Us.
We understand how difficult it can be to reach out for help but it is the first step towards recovery and a happier, healthier way of living.