Imagine if we found a classic old car that hadn’t been driven in more than a decade. Maybe some of the parts were rusted, but it was worth repairing. We worked to restore the engine, and the time came to try to start it up. All of the parts were stiff from so many years without use. The engine sputtered at first but finally began to run. After some time running and fine-tuning, the engine purred again, easily coming to life with each turn of the key.
This could be a metaphor for our own minds and bodies, stagnant and a bit rusty from our substance use. The elbow grease we may need for ourselves could be simply to get our bodies moving again, to exercise. We can remember the engine in the old car if we are asking ourselves, “Why do I need to exercise?”
Removing the Rust of Substance Use
Most of us in substance use recovery are not properly exercising our bodies while we are active in our addiction. Like an old car that sits without use, our bodies deteriorate when we are not exercising them properly. Not only do our muscles weaken, but our cardiovascular and respiratory systems suffer from inactivity as well.
Additionally, substance use can cause harm to our bodies and the various systems as well. We risk cardiovascular disease, diabetes, immune system disorders, and depression and other mental illness. Carefully choosing a regular exercise regime can significantly lower the risk of those and other health issues associated with substance use. As we begin to use our bodies again, there are a lot of physical benefits that can improve our health.
Restoring the Mind and Body
One of the biggest benefits of exercise after substance use is that exercise can improve our mood. It is well-known that exercise produces endorphins, which are like a natural “high,” but the reality is that they contribute to a better overall mood as well. This is helpful for all of us, but especially for those of us who are prone to depression or actually experiencing depression or other mood disorders as a result of substance use.
Additionally, like the car that has been sedentary for so long, it is important to get our bodies moving again. The cardiovascular system not only gets neglected but may suffer harm during substance use. Exercise is the perfect antidote, allowing our cardiovascular systems to be jump-started and run normally again. The best way to do this is to consult with a physical trainer or other qualified people to help us choose an exercise regime that meets the needs of our bodies. We need to be careful of our approach, as too much exercise too quickly can do more harm than good.
Getting Our Engines Running
More than just the physical benefits of being active, exercise also gets our minds moving. We are able to think and process while we workout, making it doubly effective for our healing. The effect of exercise on our own self-belief becomes powerful, too, because as we move our bodies again, we are demonstrating that we are worth the work. Coming from a place where our substance use hurt our bodies in a negative way; the strain and soreness of new workouts are a positive source of discomfort because we know that we are rebuilding our bodies and ourselves.
Fine Tuning Our Habits
Exercise can help us with the structure of our lives in recovery, too. We can fine-tune our days to add time for fitness, which is something positive that we can do to fill our schedules when we need something constructive to do. Taking a fitness class or having an exercise buddy also can help us to maintain a regular exercise schedule, which helps us stay on our path to wellness.
Maintenance in Recovery
The best part about using exercise in recovery is that we can adapt it to our needs. When we first enter treatment, we may have a lot of health limitations due to our substance use, so our exercise routines will be tailored to those limitations. As we work past some of our health issues, we may be able to increase the level and length of our fitness routines, as well as the types of exercise that we are able to do. As we move along our path, we can exercise more to maintain and keep our bodies and minds well.
Why do I need to exercise? Just like that classic car, each of us has so much value that we are not able to demonstrate in our current state after substance use. Exercise helps us to restore not only our bodies but also our minds. We can improve our mood, our self-belief, and help to prevent both mental and physical health issues. As our physical health improves, we also can provide ourselves with constructive ways to fill our time and enrich our health and well-being. Just like a car’s engine needs proper maintenance and regular use, we need exercise for both the mental and physical effects it can have on our recovery.
Get your body moving again. Fine-tune your body at AToN Center by calling (888) 535-1516 today. We believe in healing holistically, including mind, body, and spirit. Heal your body and learn the importance of exercise in your recovery. Our personal trainer awaits to help you make and achieve your own fitness goals.