There are things that we do in life – both good and bad – that have an effect on our body, even if we can’t see it right away. Abusing a drug or substance is an example of something that is harmful to our bodies. However, fitness has the opposite effect. In fact, exercise and getting fit can have such a significant effect on the success of your recovery.

Keep reading to see just how important fitness is!

How fitness affects our bodies

For a lot of people, getting fit is all about looking good. However, there are so many ways in which exercising affects our bodies, on the inside, that supersede anything it could possibly do to our appearance. When you get moving, you start sweating and your heart rate increases as it works to pump blood throughout your body.

But what really happens on the inside when you exercise?.

  • Your heart rate increases, which means oxygenated blood is traveling throughout your body in a faster manner. The more you make it work this fast, the better and stronger it becomes at doing so.
  • Your lungs (and the muscles around them) need to work faster as you begin breathing faster and deeper.
  • Muscles are fueled by stored sugar (a.k.a. glucose).
  • Your brain goes into its happy place when you decide to get moving. While exercising, your brain will excrete endorphins and neurotransmitters that give you a sense of euphoria. Cell function increases over time and allows your brain to shut down certain genes – most of which are unwanted, such as those that cause Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, or aging.
  • Sure, there are downfalls to exercise, too. Such as pressure and wear and tear on joints, but taking care of yourself after each workout allow the benefits to outweigh the costs.

Why fitness is important for recovery

Our bodies are meant to be healthy. Let’s face it, we don’t always take care of it as we should. The body takes a significant toll during an addiction. But, thankfully, the body is an amazing machine that can halt further damage and, in some ways, reverse the previous damage. How? With a dedicated fitness regime.

With a healthy body, you can focus better on recovery, releasing all of its stored-up toxins, and forming a strong and healthy vessel to propel you into your next life chapter.

Benefits of fitness during your recovery

There are so many benefits of fitness during your recovery. In fact, that is likely why it is a part of every rehab or treatment program. The more dedicated you are to getting fit and the more regularly you exercise, the greater the benefits.

Regular exercise can allow you to experience:

  • Stress reduction. The endorphins released in your brain while exercising come in handy with stress. In addition, pushing your body can be a means to release any pent-up anger or aggression in a positive manner.
  • Increased self-esteem and self-confidence. When you work out, you feel good. The physical changes you will begin to notice with regular exercise will make you feel good, too. When you feel good and confident, you will feel stronger in the choices you make. In other words, you are more likely to make good choices in life.
  • Your energy levels will increase dramatically. Feeling tired will no longer be an issue. You will possess a great amount of energy to face your day head on!
  • No more idle time. In recovery, you learn that having idle time can likely lead your mind to wander, getting you into something you know you should not. If you get into the habit of exercising when you encounter idle time, you can replace negative behavior with positive behavior. Don’t let your mind get the best of you!
  • Lift your mood. Going through recovery can lead to some negative emotions. After all, you are making life changes by leaving behind a life that was once all you knew. Exercise and regular fitness help lift your mood, thanks to your brain releasing endorphins during your workout.
  • Mental focus. To successfully work toward recovery, you will need to be able to focus and make thoughtful and calculated decisions. Fitness can assist you with this mental clarity.
  • Better sleep will come to you! Exercise will wear you out and can help re-focus your life in a solid and good rhythm. Sound sleep is necessary for a successful recovery.

These are just a few of the many positive reasons why fitness is such a big – and necessary – part of recovery.

Types of fitness to fuel your recovery journey

There are so many activities that you can do to get healthy and fit. It is very important to do your research and find something that you enjoy so you will be more apt to stick with it. Think about it – dreading your exercise routine day in and day out will likely lead you to make some great excuses why not to do it.

Consider these activities:

  • Walking or running.
  • Team sports, such as baseball, softball, basketball, football, soccer, etc.
  • Tennis.
  • Weightlifting
  • Aerobic or cardio activities, such as dancing or Zumba.
  • Jump rope or double dutch.
  • Martial arts

Any activity that you can do to get your heart pumping and your body moving will work. Just make sure you find one or two activities that you like to do so that you will be excited to do them a few times each week.

The long haul

Fitness and exercise don’t just benefit you by making an appearance during your recovery journey. It is for you to learn a new, positive habit that will be with you for the long haul. It is a tool that will help you manage stressors of your day to day life in a healthy way, rather than finding yourself dealing with a relapse.

Making exercise a lifelong habit can be a very beneficial tool in living a healthy life – both physically and mentally.