Integrating a fitness routine into someone’s life who is not normally active could be challenging but vital to their overall health. The same is true for someone in recovery. However, incorporating a fitness routine into their program offers more than just health. The benefits of a fitness routine include relapse prevention, stabilizing mood and sleep patterns to reduce triggers, and overall healing of their physical and mental state.
When living with substance use disorder (SUD), it is common to be hyper-focused on a particular substance. This can carry over into other aspects of life during recovery. For example, some people drink more coffee or energy drinks during early recovery. It is common to replace the repetitive behavior of using a substance with another. Often poor nutrition habits are easier to substitute rather than implementing healthier habits. This results in an overall feeling of being unwell, lack of energy, and poor sleep.
Physical Changes That Occur During Recovery
Physical changes in recovery are completely normal. The substance that was once relied on to simply function through the day is now removed, and the body is adjusting to this change. These impacts on the body will display in a variety of ways. It is crucial to continuously be aware of the body and be mindful of how these changes may be addressed to ensure a successful recovery.
Physical Changes in Early Recovery
In early recovery, an individual may experience various physical changes, including changes in:
- Blood pressure
- Sleep patterns, including insomnia
- Eating habits
An individual may also experience symptoms of physical issues that may have been masked by their addiction. Lack of nutrients, dizziness and post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) may occur.
During this time, it is critical to note any symptoms experienced to share with an individual’s medical professional or the person who is monitoring care during treatment. This way, they can determine if the symptoms are a natural part of the body recovering or if medical intervention is required.
Physical Changes in Long-Term Recovery
As time goes by, the body will heal itself, and additional changes may be noticed. Blood pressure will lower again, sleeping patterns will become more consistent, energy levels will eventually increase, dizziness will cease, and PAWS will fade and end. In addition to the body healing from detoxing from substances, implementing fitness will promote even further healing and recovery.
How Incorporating a Fitness Routine Impacts Recovery
Incorporating a fitness routine into an individual’s recovery program impacts the body and mind in a multitude of ways. Assisting in the ability to sleep and energy levels, changes such as simply taking a walk or practicing yoga will support the body in healing and self-regulating.
Programs such as SMART Recovery emphasize the benefits of incorporating exercise into an individual’s recovery. Exercise can help the following:
- Improve sleep
- Boost mood
- Assist in promoting a more structured routine
- Help heal the body and overall mental health
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) describes fitness as a crucial tool in relapse prevention. The VA states the four major triggers of HALT that are often referred to in 12-Step programs, being hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, are major warning signs for relapse and need to be addressed quickly.
The incorporation of a fitness routine into an individual’s recovery program will support preventing all four of the triggers of HALT from occurring. Increasing energy, healthy routines, eating habits, and often self-esteem, exercise promotes overall health, especially in recovery. Utilizing fitness as an everyday preventative measure is sure to promote success for those in recovery.
How Destiny Recovery Center Integrates Fitness
Destiny Recovery Center (DRC) integrates fitness into our recovery program from the very beginning. Upon entering DRC, clients meet with staff to review their backgrounds and interests and work together to create their recovery plan.
From there, the goals of the recovery program will be created, and steps to meet those goals will be identified. Goals range depending on the needs of the client. The main goal could be movement each day or simply having a more structured routine that includes starting the day with yoga.
DRC offers a variety of options for an individual to incorporate fitness into their day. From horseback riding to surfing, nature activities are often incentives for those on the fence or hesitant to participate. Nature walks or hikes offer a slower-paced way to introduce physical activity into an individual’s routine while also absorbing the healing attributes of being in nature. Mediation and yoga are also available for those who have experience or for those who are beginners.
No matter the ability level of the client or their physical fitness level, all clients will be supported in trying new activities and adventures. Being able to attempt a new skill in a safe and supportive environment will only support the client in their growth. Even if it is ten minutes a day, implementing some sort of movement or fitness routine into their schedule will promote sleep patterns, boost mood and self-confidence, and support energy.
Many physical changes occur throughout recovery, and using exercise will support physical and mental recovery. Destiny Recovery Center is prepared to assist every step of the way. From detox to aftercare services, Destiny Recovery Center’s staff will support you in all aspects of your care, including using fitness to support your physical recovery. Incorporating fitness into your treatment plan will not only assist in your recovery but will also become a tool used in aftercare for relapse prevention. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, please call Destiny Recovery Center at (909) 413-4304 to see how we can assist you in starting your recovery journey.