Everyone has heard that fitness makes you healthy. But did you know it can heal damage to your physical body, as well as your mind? In fact, it can even reduce stress and build confidence. Yes, exercise is powerful. And it is a necessity in our lives. The best news? It doesn’t take running a marathon or completing a triathlon to reap the benefits!

Before you begin to think about how out of shape you are, how uncoordinated you are, or about your fear of getting hot and sweaty – know that you can start small and make a gradual change. Once you begin to start seeing the effects, you will likely increase your fitness routine on your own. The point is not to be overwhelming or force you to do something you despise – it is just to make you move.

If you aren’t encouraged yet, keep reading to see all the benefits that can be yours if you decide to take that first step!

Best exercises for those in recovery

What exercise you choose is going to vary greatly on your ability. Did you work-out regularly before you were swept away with your addiction? Have you always primarily lived a sedentary lifestyle? No matter what you choose, you are going to want to start small and work yourself up. Here are the best exercises for those in recovery:

  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Bicycling
  • Team sports. Including softball, volleyball, soccer, tennis, football, etc.
  • Swimming

If you find something you enjoy doing you are more likely to stick with it. Choosing to join a softball league when you fear flying balls is not likely to benefit you at all. Keep that in mind as you weed through your options.

Go for a natural high

Have you ever heard of a “runners high?” This is a common feeling many people encounter during exercise. It is caused due to the release of endorphins in your brain – your body’s own personal painkillers. These endorphins then cause the brain to release dopamines, leading you straight to a sense of euphoria.

In fact, these are the same endorphins that your body released when you were abusing substances. However, with the chemical imbalances caused by your drug of choice, your body couldn’t experience a natural state of happiness and pleasure. Regular exercise can help restore your body back to its natural endorphin level.

Positive stress relief

Stress can cause many symptoms, including:

  • Headaches
  • Teeth grinding
  • Muscle stiffness, tightness, or spasms
  • Sweating
  • Racing thoughts or inability to concentrate
  • Forgetfulness and confusion
  • Heartburn and stomach pain
  • Chest pain and heart palpitations

It can even include these reactive symptoms:

  • Increased smoking
  • Increased alcohol consumption
  • Over use of pain killers or over the counter drugs
  • Increased shopping, gambling
  • Impulsiveness
  • Increased illegal drug use

See how dangerous stress can be? There are many ways that people choose to respond to stress and many of these ways can be negative – as shown by the reactive symptoms above. Exercise, however, can reduce stress almost entirely.

Research shows that exercise increases the levels of norepinephrine in the brain, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating our cognitive functioning. In addition, it increases blood flow to the brain which, in turn, stimulates new cell growth and promotes an overall sense of healing.

Builds confidence and self-esteem

One of the benefits of a regular exercise routine is that it can increase your self-esteem and your self-confidence. It does so for several reasons.

  • You will begin to feel physically toned.
  • You will lose any extra weight you have been carrying.
  • The chemicals in your brain will find the proper balance, allowing you to feel pleasure naturally.
  • You will have more energy to do more things.
  • You will feel accomplished and proud.

Combine these things and you are bound to feel good!

Physical health benefits

Fitness has so many benefits for your body, whether you are in recovery or not. It is good for you – plain and simple. Exercise restores your body and helps it heal from all the damage we seem to cause to it throughout our lives. Engaging in a regular routine has these physical benefits (and so much more):

  • Ability to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Increase cardiovascular (heart) health
  • Increased blood circulation throughout your body, including to your brain
  • It has been shown to alleviate symptoms of diabetes
  • Exercise an increase the strength of your immune system.
  • It can stimulate from nerve connections in the brain

Years of drug addiction can wreak havoc on your body, but it is evident that the physical benefits of exercise are immense.

Mental health benefits

Exercise also benefits our mental health. Many individuals entering recovery after having dealt with an addiction to a substance seem to struggle with anxiety, mood swings, and depression – among other things. This likely results from chemical changes in the brain due to repeated drug or substance abuse, as well as possible pre-frontal cortex brain shrinkage.

What if you could help heal that damage? You can! By starting a fitness regime. Regular exercise can correct damage, promote healing, and regulate your brains chemicals – bringing back the ability to have a natural sense of happiness and peace.

Regulated sleep is another benefit to physical activity. When you reduce your stress, regulate your brain’s chemicals, and burn energy, you will find that you will get a restful sleep. In fact, you will even begin to see that your sleep cycle becomes regulated – with a reduction in insomnia.

The benefits to fitness are endless, especially when it comes to recovery. You have spent so much time allowing your addiction to damage your body and now it is time to heal. Reduce your stress, kick your anxiety to the curb, get your blood flowing, increase your energy, and regulate your sleep – simply by dedicating time to an exercise routine. What else could you do with your time that is this positive and life-changing?