When we leave a treatment facility, we can continue the healthy lifestyle habits we learned during our early recovery. Health and physical fitness can help you during your recovery in several different ways. Participating in fitness activities can help you in many domains of health, other than physical health.
The benefits of exercise have been proven to help those suffering from a range of mental health issues, including addiction. Healthy habits can help prevent relapse, and fitness can connect you with other like-minded individuals during your recovery.
The Benefits of Movement
“Movement” has been shown to help people get out into a more positive mindset during times of depression. During a talk with Fire Mountain co-founder Aaron Huey, Jean Campell discussed the importance of movement in positive psychology. Any kind of activity, from getting out of bed to take a shower or just swinging arms around, can build momentum for those in depressed states.
If the power of movement can help someone with depression build momentum to seek treatment, imagine what routine exercise can do to maintain your recovery. Just taking a few minutes each day to get some form of exercise can be life-changing. Exercise can create the positive momentum that you need to continue moving forward in recovery.
Keeping a Routine
Many of us have created some type of contract or aftercare planning to prevent relapse when leaving a treatment program. By planning exercise and healthy habits, you can stay ahead of negative mental triggers, like anxiety and depression. As you continue to maintain your recovery skills, schedule time to exercise that works for you.
Often, people set themselves up for failure at healthy routines by taking an “all-or-nothing” approach. They create strict guidelines for their fitness routines, like “I must go to the gym every day for one-hour,” or “I must run 20 miles each week.” At first, they might be riding the excitement of these new goals. However, as life catches up with them, they might need to skip a day. Then, they fall short of their unrealistic goals, feeling like they failed.
Doing Something Is Better Than Nothing
When people fail once or twice with healthy habits, they might abandon the idea altogether. When it comes to physical health habits, doing something is better than nothing at all. Be honest with yourself about health and fitness goals. Maybe just 10 minutes of activity is all that you have time for most days–that’s okay! Spending those 10 minutes working on your health will be much more productive than not. Even just those 10 minutes can boost your mood for positive outcomes throughout your day.
Partner Up With Peers
During the pandemic, access to fitness clubs or sports might be somewhat restricted. Many people find that having fitness partners can help them stay on top of their goals. When people are no longer able to remain in close contact with one another, what can we do?
Putting yourself at risk of spreading or catching COVID-19 would be counter-productive to committing to health and fitness. However, that does not mean that you cannot adapt your behavior to remain safe. You can stay accountable to a fitness partner by:
- Using apps, like Strava, to log workouts
- Asking a friend or support person to text you daily to remind you to get moving
- Joining a fitness class over Zoom or other platforms
- Opting for more outdoor activities that leave more room for social distance
Healthy Eating Habits
Exercise is just one habit to put into your routine for a healthy lifestyle. Healthy eating habits are also essential for recovery. The foods that you eat can have an incredible impact on your mood and resilience in recovery.
Healthy eating can seem complicated to many people. They might feel like they do not have time or that healthy foods are too expensive. Sometimes, just making small changes to your eating habits can considerably improve your physical and mental health. Try some replacements, like:
- Buying whole-grain pasta instead of white pasta
- Drinking water with meals instead of soft drinks or other high-calorie beverages
- Eating fruits or nuts for snacks instead of chips or other “junk” foods
- Ordering a side salad or vegetables at restaurants instead of fries
By finding healthy ways of living that you can easily fit into your routine, you can start to feel more optimistic about your recovery. Healthy nutrition and fitness can significantly improve your overall mood and give you the strength you need to reclaim your life in recovery!
Healing from addiction can be the process of replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones. We can integrate healthy habits into our lives by making small changes. Many people struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle due to their expectations. They might create unrealistic goals for themselves, becoming discouraged when things go off track. By keeping your health and fitness goals realistic and doable, you can start to build positive momentum to move forward in your recovery journey. Start with small changes and do what you can to gain the benefits of exercise and nutrition. If you are continuing to struggle in your recovery, do not hesitate to reach out for support. Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center considers all alumni as part of the tribe. We would love to hear from you as you continue with your journey. If you would like to re-connect with us, call Fire Mountain today at (303) 433-3343.