Substance use disorder deteriorates mental and physical health, making comprehensive recovery programs essential for people who are seeking help. Part of the healing process requires the recuperation of the mind and body, primarily through exercises that work the muscles necessary for healthy living. There are immense benefits attributed to regular physical activity, including better sleep, reduced risk of certain cancers, overall enhanced quality of life, and prolonged life expectancy, to name a few. Before embarking on a fitness journey, it’s important to ensure the approach is suited for addiction recovery.
The general key to achieving regular physical activity is to sit less and move more, meaning any amount of exercise is better than none. The CDC recommends that adults aim for 150 minutes of activity a week, which may seem like a lot at first, but it can be broken up into 30-minute increments over five days. Their breakdown involves a combination of aerobic activity and moderate muscle strengthening exercises that are generally achievable by most non-disabled adults. Of course, modifications can be made for people with disabilities or limited range of movement due to illness. Patients in treatment should speak with their medical provider before taking on any new exercises.
Jumping into a grueling exercise regimen can lead to a quick burnout. Finding an enjoyable activity that moves the body and gradually increasing workout duration and intensity is a more sensible method. Exercising aims to achieve better health while enjoying the perks of endorphin release, improving mood, self-image, and relieving stress. When the thought of working out becomes daunting or unenjoyable, it can rapidly become discouraging and a source of negativity due to perceived failure. Foregoing overly intense and detailed exercise regimens at the gym for activities like dancing, hiking, or cycling may be better suited for those who are reluctant to commit to a plan for fear of becoming overwhelmed.
People in recovery who decide to make a lifestyle change that includes exercise and improved nutrition are encouraged to keep a journal or use tracking apps that record their progress. Patients can request blood panels to track specific health markers at the beginning of their journey, with continued updates as they work towards their goals. Looking back on past performance and health levels can be motivating and validating, especially when the body is enduring physical and mental challenges that come with physical activity and change. It’s also a great way to pinpoint patterns in behavior and mood to better understand which adjustments need to be made for future improvement.
For those struggling with substance use disorder, the idea of overall improved health through exercise and nutrition may appear too far-fetched to be attainable. With the help of medication-assisted treatment, however, it’s within reach. The specialized medical providers, nursing staff, and substance use counselors at Middlesex Recovery are dedicated to encouraging every enrolled patient to achieve a life free of addiction. Call or message a local Middlesex Recovery clinic today to learn more about treatment programs and services.