I encourage recovering addicts to participate in daily therapeutic exercise. Why? Well, I love being active and appreciate sharing sports, hiking and other physical activities with my family and friends, but I’ve also seen the numerous benefits exercise provides. It serves as a healthy alternative to using drugs and alcohol and has four additional benefits every former addict needs.
Before I share the benefits of therapeutic exercise, let me explain what it is. Typically, a doctor, nurse or physical therapist prescribes pain-free and comfortable exercises you perform either in a medical facility, therapy center or your home. These exercises can include gentle stretches, light weight lifting, swimming and a variety of other movements. Most of the exercises, reports Accelerate Physical Therapy, focus on gently and consistently helping you regain mobility, strengthen muscles, improve joint function, promote relaxation and develop endurance. So, now that you know what they are, let’s discuss the four benefits of regular exercise.
1. Improve Your Physical Health
Creaking joints, trouble keeping up with your kids or grandkids and heart disease are each indicators of poor physical health. Start exercising. It reduces unhealthy triglycerides and bad cholesterol and your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes. If you already suffer from these health conditions, exercise can decrease your symptoms. Don’t these health benefits sound good? Then exercise every day.
2. Boost Your Energy
Maintaining and thriving at your job, relationships and sobriety requires tons of energy. Boost your energy reserves when you exercise regularly. The oxygen level in your body increases, your muscles become stronger, your endurance improves, and your heart and lungs perform more efficiently. With more energy, you won’t feel worn out and run down every day. You’ll have the energy you need to make positive decisions in every area of your life.
3. Improve Your Mood
Exercising for 35 minutes five days a week or for 60 minutes three days a week improves your mood, according to Harvard Medical School. Whether you walk your dog around the block, swim laps in a local pool or do yoga in the comfort of your home, prioritize exercise to feel more positive about life.
Likewise, you’ll appreciate the self-esteem boost you get from exercise. As you improve your flexibility and overall health, you feel better about yourself. You gain confidence to ask for a promotion at work, confront your addiction triggers and build healthy relationships or simply make the changes and progress that recovery requires.
4. Have Fun
While exercising improves your health and keeps you in shape, the University of Florida also reports that varying the exercises you do increases the fun. On the dance floor, at the local park or soccer field, use exercising to learn new skills, try new sports and meet new friends. Talk with your doctor or therapist about implementing a variety of exercises that keeps your routine interesting and maximizes the fun quotient.
Before starting any therapeutic exercise program, contact your primary care physician or physical therapist. I’m sure he or she will agree with me about the benefits. However, you need a professional’s opinion to make sure you’re healthy enough for an exercise program. Then, jump in and start working out. Achieve the benefits of regular exercise as you strengthen your body and your mind.