The addiction recovery process can often feel like a marathon without a finish line. There’s no definitive timetable for recovery: throughout the small victories and the temporary setbacks, it’s important to surround yourself with loved ones who can support you without imposing any sort of deadline or end date. In fact, although setting a hopeful “end date” for your addiction can be motivational during the addiction recovery process, in the long run it can actually contribute toward more frustration than encouragement if that date is not met.
When it comes to addiction recovery, end dates and finish lines are better reserved for your workouts than any self-imposed timetable. For those moments during your day when you need a victory, even one against a stopwatch, a dumbbell or a personal best, fitness is there. Easy workouts can help lift your spirits during a difficult day, and even help improve your mood during the process.
Get to know 6 different workout ideas below, that can help you take command of both your body and your day no matter where you find yourself during the addiction recovery process.
One note before we begin: fitness is an amazing way to combat addiction at any stage of the recovery process, but let’s make sure we’re adopting best practices. That means stretching before any workout, hydrating during and after fitness, and allowing your body the time you need to recover after your workout has completed.
1. Go for a walk, jog or run.
This workout requires only two things: your body and your resolve (though we also suggest a sturdy pair of running shoes). Even if it’s a 5-minute walk with the dog around the neighborhood, or a half-mile jog down the street and back, getting outside of the house and outside of your own mind can help you turn the tide in your fight against any addiction. And why not burn some extra fat and tone your muscle while you’re at it?
If you opt for the walk but still want to burn some extra fat during the process, try bringing 3 or 5-pound weights with you on your walk down the street. You can even work in some lunges to incorporate your abs into the workout.
2. Dust off the bike and hit the town.
When was the last time your bike left the garage? Make that day today. Dust off the bike, adjust the seat and likely apply a few pounds of pressure to the tires, click into your helmet and you’re off. If you’re not ready for a longer ride, feel free to stick to local bike lanes and flat ground. Incorporate some hill routines into your bike ride if you feel comfortable doing so, to increase heart rate and exercise upper body muscles in the process. If you can get your heart going and sweat off some insecurity, you’ll be doing your body a huge favor.
3. Take 5 minutes to strengthen your core.
If you’re more in the mood for an in-home workout, we can work with that. Change into some comfortable workout clothes, find a padded area of your floor away from distractions and you have everything you need for an at-home core workout. These core workouts don’t need to be complicated; feel free to incorporate push-ups, sit-ups (also called crunches) and jumping jacks into your regimen. Your goal is to sustain pressure on your abdomen, to help rid your body of extra fat while toning muscle. Jumping rope for a sustained period of time is also a dynamite core workout supplement.
4. Work those arms with dumbbells.
Another at-home workout option, dumbbells offer a variety of options when it comes to toning your muscles without ever leaving the living room. Dumbbells – metal bars with weights on either end of the handle – offer simple weights perfect for lifting. Try out 2 of our favorite dumbbell workouts below:
- Bicep Curls: Work bicep and tricep muscles with perhaps the most common dumbbell workout. With a dumbbell in one or both hands., stand up straight, and with your elbow against your torso, “curl” the weights up toward your pectorals. Repeat as many times as you’d like – 10 to 15 reps is standard per workout set.
- One-Arm Swing: If you’d like to work out a single bicep at a time, this workout is perfect for you. You can work out shoulders and legs through a single dumbbell swing. The workout is exactly what it sounds like, though it’s incredibly safe. You’ll only need to squat, and swing the dumbbell through your legs as you drive yourself upward with the motion. Bring the dumbbell up near forehead level as you allow your body to straighten, before you allow the dumbbell to swing back down. Carry out this motion until you complete your set.
5. Get in the water for some non-impact resistance training.
There’s absolutely nothing like a refreshing swim. Even if you’ve only swim recreationally, now could be the perfect time to get into the pool, shed some pounds and gain both discipline and self-confidence. Grab your swim trunks and a swim cap (if you need one) and find the nearest city pool. You can even bring along a kickboard, or grab one from the pool, if you’re worried about getting started. Swim lanes are typically segmented and labeled by swimmer speed, so you can always start off in the slow lane and focus on breathing and relaxation instead of pace and dexterity.
Even 5 or 10 minutes of decent breaststroke, backstroke or freestyle can leave you refreshed and energized, especially on warmer days when the water can help regulate your core body temperature during your workout. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even head out for a swim in a (safe) body of fresh or saltwater near you!
6. Get your yoga on.
And if you’re more in the mood for a self-conscious, breath-focused workout, yoga is already calling your name. We likely don’t have to tell you that yoga is unparalleled when it comes to meditation through specific body poses and breath regulation. It’s likely that a yoga studio, gymnasium or fitness center near you hosts yoga classes, so feel free to sign up for a specific class that sounds like something you’d enjoy.
Alternatively, you can enjoy the full benefits of a yoga session in the comfort of your own home through the power of online yoga. Find an instructor or a course of particular interest to you on the internet, or through a fitness-centered mobile application, lay out your yoga mat, and get to it. Whether it’s a fast-paced yoga session to help shed pounds or a slow-paced, reflective class in a yoga studio or your own living room, it’s never a bad idea to regulate breathing and return the focus to your own body and mindfulness.
Your goal is completion, not total reps.
Here’s something important to keep in mind: the important metric to track isn’t total reps, but your follow-through. Just like in addiction recovery, it’s important that you follow through on your commitments to yourself, to your loved ones and to your own body. For that reason, we suggest setting core workout goals before you begin, and making sure you accomplish them before calling it a day. Maybe it’s a distance that you’ve committed to swim, bike or run. Maybe it’s a 10-minute timer you’ve set for yourself next to your yoga mat. Set workout goals as conservatively or aggressively as you feel fit, and remember why you’re working out in the first place.
The addiction recovery road can be a long one. Workouts give you the perfect opportunity for small victories during the day, while you get your blood moving for a healthier you. Pair regular addiction recovery practices with a healthy dose of any of the above workout suggestions, to supplement addiction therapy with healthy, physical movement that’s easy to love – especially when the weight comes off!