There are huge benefits of routine exercise after rehabilitation, After leaving drug and alcohol rehab, you probably want to take it easy. You’ve just spent weeks or months working hard on yourself and a short break may seem like a necessity before diving back into work. A short break can be worthwhile, but self-care doesn’t begin and end at relaxation.
We don’t need to tell you about the benefits of exercising regularly. However, upon leaving rehab, it is particularly beneficial to start an exercise routine right away.
These are 5 reasons to start exercising regularly after leaving rehab:
1. Physical Rehabilitation
When you are addicted to substances, the physical condition of your body is generally the last thing on your mind. While many addicts continue to exercise even as their addiction worsens, the substances often counteract the benefits of that exercise. Few people enter rehab at their peak physical condition.
Furthermore, while using drugs and alcohol, you may have made decisions that were harmful to your body, including things like having regular all-nighters, binge eating, and getting into fights.
Starting an exercise routine after leaving rehab allows you to rehabilitate your body. Many excellent rehab centers have gyms for this purpose, and if you start during the program, you’ll be primed to continue back in the outside world.
Exercise is not just good for physical fitness. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These are “feel-good” chemicals that act as natural painkillers and contribute to personal happiness. People suffering from mental illness are often advised to exercise more, as it is a natural way of improving mental well-being.
3. Daily Achievements
In rehab, you will have learned to take each day as it comes. There is no way to guarantee you will never relapse, and it is an important lesson that every single day is to be celebrated. Exercise can help you further ingrain this lesson.
When you are exercising at the right level for your body, you feel a sense of achievement after every session. You push yourself without overexertion, and the tiredness that comes after your workout can actually feel good. It is a reminder of what you have achieved today.
In other words, while you may have long-term exercise goals, you will have multiple wins on your way to achieving them. Every session will leave you feeling thankful, both for your own commitment and another day of living with intention.
4. Grounding Yourself
Another reason that an exercise routine is so worthwhile for recovering addicts is that it grounds you in the present. You are exerting your body in the most literal way, and you cannot help but experience life through it. Your senses take in the sights, sounds, and smells around you, but the main focus of sensory input is the movement and exertion of your muscles.
For people who find meditation too boring, or simply cannot concentrate on their breath alone, exercising provides another approach to mindfulness. Following your body’s movement is a meditation of its own and can open you up to the everyday sensory input that would otherwise pass you by.
5. Creating Routine
After leaving drug and alcohol rehab, one of the things you may struggle with is creating a routine. Your life before rehab may have been haphazard or perhaps you used substances to focus and get things done. During rehab, you follow a routine that has been created for you. Outside of rehab, it is entirely up to you.
Exercise can be an essential part of your routine. You set aside time for it every day and it can even become the center of your focus. Since it is something you are doing entirely for yourself, you can do it even when the office is closed or on one of those days when you struggle to be at all productive.
Also, recovering addicts often struggle with self-care, as they see it as indulgent. Few people have this problem with exercise, though, and it can be a form of self-care that you commit to even when you are feeling unkind towards yourself.
6. Creating Community
If you start running or cycling – or even join a CrossFit or F45 gym – you can instantly become part of a community that is premised on mutual growth. This is the most similar type of friend group you will get to addiction recovery groups, as the shared activity is in and of itself physically healing.
Having this type of community, even if they are simply people you share your progress with online, is important for recovering addicts. Instead of pointing out failures, these communities will congratulate you on your successes. Instead of seeing you for your illness, these communities see you for your commitment to health.
Exercise is incredibly beneficial to recovering addicts. Upon leaving rehab, it is well worth your while to set up a regular exercise routine.