The road to redemption after abusing drugs or alcohol is long and filled with twists and turns that can tempt one to veer off-course. Along with a treatment program and surrounding yourself with positive influences, one of the best things you can do as a recovery survivor is to restore your health by incorporating exercise into your daily routine.

Research suggests that physical activity can aid in relapse prevention by helping one focus on something other than cravings or withdrawal symptoms. Not to mention, the mood-boosting endorphins created through exercise prompt a “natural high” that can alleviate feelings of depression and anxiety while boosting self-confidence. These very reasons are why many rehab facilities are incorporating physical fitness into their treatment programs.

Speak to a Health Professional

Before diving into a routine cold turkey after neglecting your health for a period of time, make sure you get a check-up from a medical professional. Misuse of drugs can lead to cancer, mental illness, hepatitis and lung disease, while the consequences of alcoholism include liver disease, pancreatitis, cancer, ulcers and gastrointestinal problems, immune system dysfunction, brain damage, malnourishment and vitamin deficiencies. It’s important that you address any of these applicable issues prior to lacing up your sneakers.

Find the Right Workout

Exercise shouldn’t be looked at as a chore, but in order to make it a pleasurable experience, you’ve got to find the right workout to suit your skill set, interests and personality. Group classes, private trainers, weight training, cardio – the possibilities are endless. Don’t be afraid to try out many different activities, as you’ll banish boredom while challenging your muscles in different ways. Oftentimes, recovery survivors experience muscle atrophy (deterioration of the tissue), so low impact exercises can be a great choice to help rehabilitate muscles without being too taxing. 

Stay Motivated

Sometimes, motivation comes from others. You may be less apt to bail when you know others are counting on you to show up for a sweat session.

Go Further

Exercise is a great way to relieve stress without reaching for drugs or alcohol, but there are other methods you should incorporate into your daily routine. For example, breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, hydrotherapy treatments, listening to relaxing music, getting rid of negative thoughts, adopting a healthy sleep schedule, eating properly, learning how to say “no” and taking some time to do or think about absolutely nothing.

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