When we think about recovery from active addiction, we tend to think about twelve step meetings, counseling sessions, and connecting with a power greater than ourselves. Indeed, these are crucial to our recovery and key to beginning our spiritual growth. Also important to our recovery is our physical health. Although we sometimes think of our physical health and spiritual wellness separately, they are more closely linked than we sometimes realize.
One way to better understand this is by examining the concept of addiction itself. Addiction is a disease and if it is left untreated it inevitably worsens. If the disease continues to progress unchecked, it eventually culminates in fatality when the death of the physical body occurs. In this sense, addiction is similar to cancer. Both progress if left untreated and that progression will inevitably lead to the sufferer’s death.
This suggests is that our physical health and spiritual fitness are linked, and that we can reap benefits in our recovery by improving our physical health through regular exercising.
We don’t need to overdo it to gain the benefits
When some of us began regularly exercising in sobriety, we went all-out by hitting the gym with gusto or training for marathons. Although there are benefits to seeking peak levels of fitness, it isn’t necessary. Simply walking or bike riding for 30 minutes at a time 3-4 times each week is sufficient.
How exercise helps us heal
In active addiction, we damaged our bodies, often badly. Exercise and eating regular, healthy meals helps reverse some of this damage. Our hearts grow healthier and we are less prone to become diabetic. Our immune systems strengthen and we are less likely to develop cancer. Regular exercise makes us feel better by increasing the production and regulation of neurotransmitters in our brains, causing us to become depressed less often. It also allows us to sleep more deeply and with greater regularity and improves lung capacity and function.
There are many additional health benefits to be gained by choosing to exercise while in recovery from active addiction. Exercising costs nothing but a little time and effort, and yet gives us so much back in return. Incorporating even minimal exercise into our daily routine serves to support our recovery efforts by improving our health and helping us feel better.
Regular exercise should never replace any of the actions we take to improve our spiritual health; we don’t replace going to our regular twelve step meeting with a trip to gym or a long walk. Instead, we weave exercise into our lives, choosing to take better care of ourselves as we walk the path of recovery. If you haven’t started walking this path, the time to do so is now. Call Alta Loma Recovery at 866-457-3843 to begin your journey today!