Exercise and Recovery: Some Guidelines

Exercise may not be your favorite thing in the world—in fact, you may flat-out hate it—but the fact remains: Exercise is good for you, and it’s especially helpful for those in addiction recovery. In fact, we’d highly recommend it as a part of your post-detox life, right along with one-on-one therapy, support groups, and other therapeutic models.

There are many benefits to exercise in the recovery process. Exercise provides physical strength and energy, which can help you face the rigors of addiction recovery. It provides a sense of accomplishment, and of increased confidence. Exercise can offset certain ill effects of withdrawal and recovery, such as insomnia and lethargy.  Finally, exercise gives the body a natural high—one that you can substitute for the artificial high obtained from drugs or alcohol.

So how can you incorporate exercise into your life? One suggestion we’d make is to turn it into part of your routine. Those in recovery generally benefit from a sense of daily structure, so planning on regular early morning walks or lunch-hour yoga sessions can be meaningful.

You might consider turning exercise into a way to spend time with friends, too, perhaps by inviting someone you’re close with to join you in your daily fitness routine. Also consider keeping a record of your exercise in your journal, which can provide you with some encouragement and accountability.

The specific type of exercise you choose really isn’t so important. The best advice here is to look for something you’ll actually enjoy—whether that means walking, jogging, biking, lifting weights at the local YMCA, yoga, or something else altogether. Daily sweat sessions—activities that get you up and get you moving—are really the goal here. And we offer this in our beach city residential program.

Consider exercise not just for its benefits to your physical body—but also for its benefits to your ongoing recovery.

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