How Physical Fitness Can Benefit Those In Addiction Recovery

Originally Published: 3/7/2021

Reformatted: 5/11/2021

by CONSTANCE HATHAWAY, malia warren

At Lifting the Dream, we’re building a community. We’re building an aesthetic of inclusion and damn proud of it. To facilitate that mindset, we like to talk about “uncomfortable” topics – you remember last year when we talked about women peeing while lifting.

Yup, because lifting knows no limits. We’re going to talk about using fitness as a way to recover from addiction, and we’re so happy to share this piece from Constance Ray at Recovery Well that highlights how fitness can be a true life saver.

Health is a struggle

Becoming healthy is one of the main struggles of those who are addicted to substances. Though many addicts go on to live healthier, more meaningful lives, getting to that point is a matter of making a mental and physical transformation. 

As science proves, addiction is a disease. However, it’s also an illness that can be overcome with the right call-to-action. If you want to conquer your battle with addiction in a more body-positive way, here are some solutions that can give you permanent insight into living a fit life. 

We hope that you’ll find some comfort in knowing that there is always a road to recovery. Fitness is just one of the many tools to help you along the way.

Transform Anger Into a Positive

Many people suffering from an addiction may display signs of anger, which can lead to relapses, due to a stressful situation or environment. These relapses are typically due to not being able to properly process a negative emotion, thus causing an addict to turn to substance abuse or alcohol as a means to cope. 

“Nobody makes you angry.

You decide to use Anger as a response.”

-Unknown

Anger has negative associations due to its ability to increase stress in our lives which can  lead to destructive behaviors, such as taking drugs and alcoholism.

I mean, who doesn’t get angry? Late to work. Slow driving. Missed the Gym.

It’s a natural human instinct.

However, the ability to process anger is also important and is what makes us human. Anger can also become a motivating force that gets us out of a rut. According to Psychology Today, anger helps to prompt us towards reaching a particular goal and moves us one step further into getting out of a negative situation. 

One beneficial way to extract anger is to walk it off. Our bodies produce adrenaline when we are angry. By taking a walk, running, riding a bike, or other types of physical activity, the chemical is then transformed into endorphins, which creates a more positive feeling.

Physical activity also impedes withdrawal symptoms that typically occur with drugs and alcohol, making it easier for recovering addicts to stay on track.

Did you know that Garlic has inflammation reduction properties? Or that lemon water has a million different benefits!? Photo Courtesy of PhotoMix Company.

Heal the Body With Food

For thousands of years, food has led as the main source for medicinal purposes to heal and energize the mind, body, and spirit. On the other hand, the toxins found in many unhealthy foods have been linked to certain cancers and other illnesses. As a recovery addict, let food heal you by maintaining a well-balanced diet and proper hydration. You’ll develop healthy organs, the ability to think more clearly and gain more focus. 

Additionally, as you eat better, your body will develop the capacity to fight off infections, leading to an increase in energy and overall well-being. 

Cultivating a diet consisting predominantly of whole foods, such as nuts that contain omega-3s, fatty fish fruits and folate found in leafy greens and other vegetables will help you fight addiction, reduce cravings and stabilize your moods and thoughts. “Eat the rainbow” to help ensure that you’re getting plenty of vitamins and minerals while getting the proper amount of  protein, carbs and fats. 

Build a Supportive Network

According to Everyday Health, the importance of friendship can have a major positive impact on our lives. Friendships helps us acquire increased self-esteem, boosts immunity and provides an outlet for troubling times. 

We talk more in depth about how your workout buddies are quite literally your best friends, but finding a group that knows your struggle and helps you improve, is a win-win.

As you connect with others through shared interest, building a support network helps you to thrive, which supports your emotional health and leads to less stress and progressive recovery.

However, choosing the right friendships also makes an impact on how you reach your addiction recovery goals. For example, if you’re a senior who enjoys working out, find a group of people and take care in the SilverSneakers program, which is offered via certain Medicare Advantage plans. SilverSneakers allows people to visit participating facilities without paying anything extra out of pocket.

Additionally, check locally in your community for group like The Phoenix, a national organization, whose mission is to build a sober active community that fuels resilience and harnesses the transformational power of connection so that together we rise, recover, and live.

For more information on a location nearest you, check out their website here.

While gaining healthy friendships are optimal, it would benefit those in addiction recovery to abstain from old friends who are still using. By avoiding certain people, places and things that trigger bad habits, a recovering addict can gain new ones who are leading positive lives. 

Years of alcohol and drug abuse can leave a recovering addict vulnerable. However, a new mindset and a shift in lifestyle can make a profound impact on someone’s life. If you or someone you know who is a recovering addict, these tips will prove as advantageous when carving out a new path.

How has physical fitness helped you overcome barriers in your life?

If you have any questions or you would like to be a guest blogger, please email us at hello@liftingthedream.com 

Constance is the blogger behind Recovery Well. She writes with a passion to become a beacon of positivity for recovering addicts. Check out her blog for more information.

Malia is the owner, and mamapreneur, of Lifting the Dream. When she’s not lifting heavy weights, she’s doing some fun shit outdoors with her family or attempting to make rollerblading cool again. She is a Cali girl born and raised, with salt water in her veins and sunshine in her heart. She and her family now reside near Denver, Colorado, soaking up the 300+ days of sunshine and breathtaking (literally, altitude) views.

Stay Lifting My Friends,

Bee Tee Dubs (BTW). 

CROSSFIT, INC DOES NOT ENDORSE, SANCTION, APPROVE OF, OR SUPPORT THIS WORK OR ANY OPINION EXPRESSED HEREIN.

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