17 Jan 2020

If you are recovering from addiction or another illness, you know the struggles that come with building resilience and fortitude. Addiction recovery feels harder some days than others, and many people who struggle turn to fitness and exercise as a consistent way to improve their mental and physical condition. Like recovery, endurance is about so much more than physical hardiness. It’s also about developing a mental constitution. Physical fitness and building endurance provide those in recovery with a helpful tool for overcoming roadblocks and challenges.


Addiction Can Change Your Body

When you leave a treatment program, you may notice that your body is not the same in recovery. Addiction can cause long-lasting damage to your body. You may have once been an endurance champion, but not you may have serious health issues or have been living a sedentary life since you’ve become an addict. For this reason, it is important to go slow as you begin your fitness journey. Your body may be in shock, and your body needs some help becoming more flexible and mobile. Endurance comes with time and practice.

How Can You Build Endurance?

Many exercises allow you to build endurance with regular practice. Kickboxing lessons, swimming, dancing, running, walking, and even barre classes are all helpful for building physical and mental fortitude. Additionally, holding yoga poses for long periods of time helps you build strength and flexibility at the same time. For many people, hiking in beautiful scenery is a great way to get fresh air and take in the setting as part of a gratitude practice.

Is Physical Exercise a Risk During Recovery?

Physical exercise may pose some risk during recovery, and it is always important to speak with your doctor before you begin a new routine. Additionally, you should talk to your counselor, therapist, or sponsor about your routine to ensure you are not replacing a substance addiction with exercise addiction.

Why Is Endurance So Important?

For many people in recovery, endurance exercise provides a healthy outlet for stress and frustration. Everybody needs a way to get those overwhelming feelings out, and exercises like running and biking provide the perfect opportunity. Building endurance through exercise also provides an endorphin boost, sometimes called a “runner’s high.” People who exercise also establish a strong mind-body connection that helps them create a stronger sense of self and understanding as they develop after treatment.
Endurance is also crucial for your cardiovascular health. When you build endurance, you improve your body’s circulation and lower your risk for diseases like diabetes and heart issues.
Individuals in recovery also benefit from the social connections people develop when they join an exercise group with other people in recovery. This support system may play an important role in promoting sobriety on a long-term basis.
Finally, training for better endurance also provides a sense of structure for those who are in recovery. For those who have just left a treatment facility, this structure is crucial. Plus, endurance training can be paired with other methods of treating addiction, including medication-assisted treatment and psychotherapy. Facilities like Sunshine Behavioral Health take a holistic approach to recovery and treatment, ensuring that each person receives the individualized treatment they need to persevere.


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