It’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of exercise in recovery. It produces endorphins and helps balance your neurotransmitters, which improves your mood. It strengthens your prefrontal cortex, which improves your self-control. It strengthens your cardiovascular system, helping to heal the damage done by alcohol and other substances. Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your recovery.
How you get that exercise is up to you. You might consider joining a gym. Of course you can exercise at home by walking, running, or doing calisthenics. In fact, you should what you can as soon as possible without waiting to join a gym. But there are a few good reasons you might want to consider a gym membership.
It’s a commitment.
Yes a gym costs money, and you might end up paying to do at a gym what you could do for free at home. However, if you spend the money on a gym membership, you will feel obligated to use it. If you plan to exercise at home, you can always put it off with no financial loss.
It gives you somewhere to go.
There are really two reasons this is important. First, it’s not good to sit around the house all the time. You feel bored and isolated. Sometimes you want to go somewhere, but the old haunts are off limits. Having a gym membership gives you somewhere to go and you’ll have something to do when you get there.
Having somewhere to go also helps separate home time from exercise time. When you make a special trip to the gym, it’s exercise time and when you leave, it’s done. When you exercise at home, you have to maintain that discipline yourself and say, “Ok, I’ve been watching TV for two hours, now it’s time to get up and do some exercise.” You have to get yourself into a different frame of mind, which takes a bit of effort.
There’s more variety.
Part of what you pay for in a gym are the options. You can always walk, run, do pushups, or buy some kind of equipment to use at home. Any of that is better than nothing, but it might not be what you really enjoy. Finding exercise you enjoy is crucial to keeping it up. At a gym, you can try a lot of different things until you find something you like. You can swim one day, lift weights the next, and try the elliptical machine the next day. You might want to do different things just to keep it interesting.
Many gyms offer classes.
Sometimes these are free and sometimes there’s an additional fee. The great thing about classes is that you can get some guidance without having to shell out for a personal trainer. That can help you focus, keep you motivated, and correct some of the mistakes you might have made by yourself.
Another great thing about classes is you meet other people. Whether you’re exhausting yourselves in a spin class, or falling over in a yoga class, sharing an ordeal can help you make friends. The more healthy social connections you can make, the better.
And hot tub. Some research has shown that spending time in the heat is therapeutic for anxiety and depression. It might help with post-acute-withdrawal syndrome, as one theory is that heat increases the number of mu receptors that were likely lost in addiction and it can improves the body’s ability to regulate its temperature.
Offering a full range of recovery and mental health services, Valiant Living offers “Expanded Recovery” to enrich our clients’ lives in mind, body, and spirit. Through evidence-based therapy options and the endless adventure of Colorado, Valiant fosters connection, encouraging clients to get connected to themselves, their peers, their families, and their higher power. With the power of recovery, clients are restored to full health and experience life-changing healing. Call us today for more information: 303-536-5463