We’ve all heard – many times – how important exercise is to our health. And yet, many people avoid it like the plague. For those whose body has been ravaged by substance abuse, it may seem that getting fit is an especially far-off goal.
So it might surprise you to learn that not only is physical activity appropriate as part of a drug and alcohol treatment regimen, it’s one of the pillars of lifelong sobriety.
But what if you hate exercise? May we suggest that you don’t hate exercise, you hate BORING exercise?
Exercise Should Be Fun and Empowering
With more than 20 years of experience helping people from all walks of life recover from addiction, the Elevate team has learned that anyone can enjoy exercise if it’s the right kind of exercise for them. That’s why we provide a wide variety of options for physical activity at both of our northern California locations.
With one of our treatment centers located at the base of the Santa Cruz mountains and the other in beautiful South Lake Tahoe, our facilities are ideally situated for physical activities such as:
- Recreational Sports
CrossFit is known as a particularly intense form of exercise, so it may surprise you that, at Elevate, we’re big believers in CrossFit. Why?
The ultimate goal of addiction recovery is whole-body wellness. Your mental, emotional, and physical wellness all affect one another. Improving each aspect helps boost the others.
CrossFit is a type of exercise based on the idea of whole-body fitness – becoming stronger in all ten fitness domains. It also recognizes that what you eat is critical to how well your body responds to exercise, so it complements the well-rounded nutrition we provide during residential treatment.
Let’s take a closer look at how physical exercise in general, and CrossFit in particular, can benefit those in addiction recovery.
What is CrossFit?
CrossFit was developed by Greg Glassman as a fitness regimen designed to promote overall wellness and fitness, as opposed to other regimens that focus on particular aspects of fitness such as building stamina or strength.
“Our specialty is that we don’t specialize,” as the CrossFit website states.
Workouts are designed to be different each time, build a wide variety of core abilities, and get the most results out of short, intense training sessions.
CrossFit workouts cover “10 Fitness Domains,” meaning:
- Cardiovascular & Respiratory
How Does CrossFit Benefit the Recovering Addict?
Anyone who’s dropped an exercise routine can appreciate the value of having variety in their workout to keep things fresh and interesting. Shorter workouts mean it’s easier to find the time to exercise, and you get a lot accomplished in a small window of time.
Increasing your fitness in all ten areas – not just one or two – gives the body the ability to handle a wide variety of physical challenges, and the fitness necessary to take on any sport that is of interest.
10 Benefits of Exercise for Addiction Recovery
Whether you choose to participate in CrossFit or some other type of physical exercise at Elevate, you can enjoy ten powerful benefits both during inpatient treatment and as you continue a life of sobriety:
- Physical Strength and Health – There are numerous studies pointing to the fact exercise contributes to overall health and wellness, not to mention greater physical strength.
- Natural Boost – Exercising increases the release of natural endorphins. Unlike drugs and alcohol that raise endorphins to extreme levels, exercise provides an appropriate amount of stimulation without the negative side effects that drugs or alcohol elicit. This makes exercise a safe and healthy way to feel good.
- The Sense of Accomplishment – Self-esteem takes a big hit during addiction, and even routine goals and responsibilities become difficult to handle. Setting and achieving fitness goals provides proof that you’re regaining control of your life.
- Emotional Outlet – Exercise provides a healthy way to release strong emotions and reduce stress in general.
- Meditation in Motion – Intense workouts keep your mind focused on the challenge of the present moment, making for a great mindfulness practice. Physical activity that is repetitive allows the mind to wander and reflect.
- Sober Community – Connecting with a group of people who share your enthusiasm for a particular exercise gives you a community of sober people to hang out with.
- Boredom Buster – Those recovering from addiction often find themselves struggling to find healthy ways to fill their free time. A fun exercise routine provides a welcome go-to activity when boredom comes knocking.
- Better Sleep – A tired body falls asleep faster, stays asleep longer and feels more rested in the morning.
- Great Body – Having a body that looks and feels great is a wonderful feeling.
- Positive Outlook – Those who exercise regularly often experience increased self-confidence and a more positive outlook on life in general, giving them a stronger emotional foundation for handling all of life’s challenges, including substance cravings.
Well-Rounded Fitness, Well-Rounded Life
Exercise is an important part of a well-rounded life, and it doesn’t have to be a chore. Whether you choose CrossFit or one of our many other options for physical activity, make sure it is fun and enjoyable for you. You CAN get healthy and stay healthy.