Sober Living and Exercise
Why is Exercise Necessary in Sober Living?
You have been abusing drugs and alcohol for a long time. Perhaps, you are young, and your fall into addiction happened quickly with intensity. Perhaps you have been drinking and drugging for years. You have neglected your body and it shows. Now, you are in recovery and one of the best gifts you can give yourself in sobriety is to engage in healthy lifestyle changes, among them regular exercise. A quality men’s transitional house, such as Boca House for Men, has a fully equipped weight room and a softball league for residents, and a swimming pool. Parks, beaches, hiking are other ways to rebuild the body, the mind, and the spirit.
The impact of exercise on a person’s well-being has long been documented. The benefits, described below, are even more significant for those in early recovery. Think about it, drugs and alcohol have distorted the brain’s ability to function normally. Chances are that the substance abuser has suffered from poor diet, poor sleeping habits, poor circulation, poor respiration, and depression, to name only a few. Exercise has a positive impact upon all these areas. Exercise includes running, yoga, weight training, dance, aerobic classes, team sports, for example. Any routine that involves the muscles, the joints, and the lungs will be beneficial especially in early sobriety.
The body’s immediate response to exercise is a release of endorphins. These chemicals and others related to the pleasure pathways in the brain are the same as those stimulated by drugs and alcohol. Some of the immediate effects of a regular exercise routine and weight training regime are:
- Increase in pleasurable non drug induced states
- Reduction of depressive symptoms
- Decrease in negative moods
- Building self-efficacy (the belief that one can master a particular skill)
- Decrease in stress levels
- Decrease in urges to use substances
The use of exercise helps rejuvenate the body’s energy level and strengthen the body’s skeleton. Within a short time, the newly sober individual can see the changes in his physic, the shifting of weight (up or down) and the building of muscle mass.
Regular exercise allows the man to build a social network with like-minded individuals helping to combat isolation. The ability to participate and succeed in an exercise program can build new ways of relating to others, new patterns of recreational activity that are drug free, and a new sense of self.
1. Studies have illustrated that those early in recovery who participate in exercise (aerobic and strength building) experience a significant decrease in depressive and anxiety symptoms. Many individuals in early sobriety suffer from depression and anxiety.
2. Exercise improves the ability to deal with daily levels of stress. (An inability to cope with stress is a common factor among the underlying causes for turning to substance abuse)
3. Exercise promotes healthy sleeping habits
4. The more steps one takes and succeeds, the better his sense of self-efficacy (the belief that one can master a task). Each success leads to another rebuilding self-esteem
5. Exercise can decrease the amount of tobacco one smokes
A sober living house or transitional home should provide residents with the ability to work out on the premises. With the ability to engage in regular exercise, a man can learn to set and achieve goals, deal with stress in constructive ways, and create time-management skills.
For a quality structured, sober living community for men in recovery call 877-957-8187.