Exercise to Stay Healthy After Addiction

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Rebuilding your life after addiction requires learning and incorporating new behaviors in your lifestyle that you keep healthy – physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually. Living a healthy lifestyle involves many different aspects to nurture the different parts of body and mind.

One part of healthy living incorporates regular exercise, which can help support physical wellness, improve cognition and mental health, and decrease risk of disease.

Making Self-Care a Priority

Often times with addictive behaviors, many individuals lose a sense of how to care for themselves or have a loss of interest in any outside activities that do not feed or relate to their addiction behaviors.

Part of recovering from addiction is incorporating regular self-care back into one’s lifestyle and making it a priority to nurture the body through healthy choices. For some people, the thought of exercise can be daunting – both physically and mentally. Some individuals may just be unsure about what types of exercise to do that will benefit their body.

Talking to a Health Professional

Before beginning any type of exercise routine, it is important to have medical clearance from a health professional. If you have been in recovery from addiction and are not sure if it is okay for you to begin exercising, be sure to have a discussion with you doctor about what type of activity might be most appropriate for you in your current condition.

Runner feet running on road closeup on shoe. woman fitness sunriBecause addictions often influence other type of medical conditions, it is crucial to have the support of your health care team to begin any type of physical activity.

Start with a Level that Works for You

There is often a misconception that exercise has to be rigorous or intense in order to be beneficial. The reality is that gentle exercise can be just as helpful for your body. Exercise should be about doing what you love and enjoy and finding what works best for your body.

If you have not engaged in exercise for some time, you might consider working into something gradually. For example, basic or introductory yoga classes, light walking, or stretching are all good places to start.

If appropriate, you may consider joining a team sport that you might enjoy, such as ultimate Frisbee, a local softball team, or tennis. Exercise should be fun and enjoyable, and when incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, contribute to your overall wellness and longevity.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What are forms of exercise that you enjoy?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 1st, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com