Exercise for addiction recovery

Breaking Barriers: Exercise for Mental Health, Addiction Recovery

Embarking on an exercise and fitness journey to support mental health or addiction recovery can be daunting. It’s especially for those with a low threshold for exercise or a less-than-enthusiastic attitude towards physical activity.

Therefore, I believe incorporating gentle forms of exercise, including my favorite, cycling or bike riding, can be a transformative and supportive step! Particularly for individuals aiming to enhance their mental health or navigate addiction recovery.

Understanding the Barriers

For many, rigorous workouts and high-intensity exercise can be overwhelming. These barriers often hinder physical activity due to a sedentary lifestyle, low fitness levels, or dislike for traditional workouts.

Recognizing and respecting these limitations is the first step toward finding a sustainable and enjoyable exercise routine.

The Link Between Exercise and Mental Health

Numerous studies highlight the positive impact of exercise on mental health. Physical activity releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancers, and reduces stress hormones.

For individuals in addiction recovery, exercise can play a pivotal role in managing cravings and supporting overall well-being.

Finding the Right Fit

The key to overcoming exercise aversion is to find activities that align with individual preferences and comfort levels. Gentle forms of exercise can be just as effective in promoting mental health and supporting addiction recovery. Here are some options to consider:

1. Walking
Walking is a simple, yet powerful exercise that provides a low-impact way to get moving. Whether it’s a stroll in the neighborhood or a nature hike, walking allows individuals to engage with their surroundings while benefiting their mental health.

2. Yoga
Yoga combines gentle movements, stretching, and mindfulness, making it an excellent choice for those with a low exercise threshold. Many find the meditative aspect of yoga helpful in managing stress and promoting mental clarity.

3. Swimming
Swimming offers a full-body workout with minimal impact on joints. The buoyancy of water makes it an ideal exercise for individuals with physical limitations or discomfort compared to traditional forms of exercise.

4. Dancing
Dancing can be an enjoyable and liberating way to stay active for those who find joy in movement. Whether it’s a structured dance class or simply dancing to favorite tunes at home, the benefits extend beyond the physical.

5. Cycling or Bike Riding
Cycling is an excellent option for those who enjoy the outdoors and want a low-impact, effective workout. Whether it’s a leisurely ride through the neighborhood or a more challenging trail, cycling allows individuals to engage with nature, enjoy fresh air, and experience the benefits of cardiovascular exercise.

Start Slow and Progress Gradually!

The key to sustainable exercise and breaking barriers is to start slow and progress gradually. Setting realistic goals, such as short daily walks or a few minutes of gentle stretching, allows individuals to build a foundation without feeling overwhelmed.

Seek Support

Engaging in exercise is not a solitary journey. Finding a workout buddy or joining a supportive community can make the experience more enjoyable. Group activities like fitness classes or walking groups provide social interaction, encouragement, and accountability.

For individuals with a low threshold for exercise or an “I hate exercise” attitude, the path to improved mental health and addiction recovery can begin with gentle and enjoyable physical activity.

By recognizing personal barriers, exploring various exercise options, and embracing a gradual approach, individuals can discover the transformative benefits of movement.

The key is to find activities that bring you joy, support your well-being, and create a positive relationship with exercise.

About Shari Corbitt

Dr. Shari Corbitt is a distinguished clinical psychologist with an enduring commitment to enhancing the mental well-being of individuals and communities. Holding a Doctorate in Psychology (Psy.D), she has amassed a wealth of experience and expertise, making her a trusted authority in the field of mental health. As a licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Corbitt has provided compassionate and evidence-based therapy to countless clients. Her areas of specialization range from cannabis-induced psychosis and mood disorders to anxiety, and chronic pain, as it relates to PTSD and trauma, as well as stress-related conditions. She is widely recognized for her empathetic approach, creating a safe and supportive space for clients to embark on their healing journeys. Dr. Corbitt founded Awakenings Treatment Center to provide cutting-edge treatment for individuals suffering from substance abuse disorders, as well as related emotional difficulties. Optimal wellness is the goal for every client. She lives in gratitude each day for her own recovery, which she enjoys one day at a time.