Engaging in regular exercise during recovery and remaining committed to an exercise program:
- Forms healthy lifestyle habits that make it easier to stay sober and focus on recovery
- Blunts the edge off cravings when they hit to help those in recovery avoid relapse
- Is the best, natural way to relieve stress and anxiety
- Adds routine, structure, and a sense of purpose to your life
- Increases your support network when you join fitness programs at gyms or just workout with friends
- Strengthens the immune system’s response to infections or lingering illnesses due to addiction
5 Best Exercises for Addiction Recovery
1. Aerobic Exercise
Treadmill walking, swimming, bicycling and elliptical training are all forms of aerobic exercise. In addition to boosting your circulatory and muscular systems, aerobic exercise is a great way to keep your brain and heart rejuvenated and working at optimal levels.
2. Leg Exercises (Scissors)
Leg scissors target gluteus muscles and lower abdominal muscles that are sometimes neglected by other exercises. Leg scissors are simple to perform and can be done at home or at the gym. To add tension to the leg scissors, resistance bands can be used to enhance the exercise. Here is how to do a basic leg scissors exercise:
- Begin by lying on a mat and relaxing your back enough to feel the entire length of your spine against the mat. Let your arms rest on the mat next to your sides
- Now lift both legs up about a foot off the mat.
- Raise the right leg a little higher than the left leg, then lower the left leg down to the mat as you raise the right leg a few more inches.
- Repeat this lifting and lowering 15 times. Use ankle weights for added resistance.
3. Arm Strengthening Exercise
- Sit in a comfortable, straight-backed chair. Grasp a lightweight item in each hand and let your hands hang at your sides. Large cans of soup are great to use in the beginning.
- With feet flat on the floor, bend your elbow to raise one weight up to your shoulder if possible
- Hold that position for several seconds
- Lower the weight slowly. Repeat ten more times
- Now switch to the other arm and perform the exercise
Yoga Pose #1
- Sit on your legs (which are folded under you) on a thin cushion or wooden block if you do not have knee joint problems.
- Interlock your hands and fingers and raise your arms above your head so that your shoulders are stretched.
- Your arms and fingers should form a square if they are held properly with palms facing the ceiling.
This pose is often used during meditation when the individual cannot sit with their legs crossed in a lotus position. Knees are stretched during this pose and your sense of balance improves over time.
Yoga Pose #2
The “bridge pose” involves placing your body in a position resembling a curved bridge.
- Lie on your back and slide your heels close to your buttocks.
- Bend your knees and raise your pelvis. Place your hands (palms down) next to your head.
- Keep the top of your head on the ground to provide support.
5. Mini-Trampoline Jumping
Jumping up and down on a mini-trampoline not only galvanizes your circulatory and respiratory systems but also gives you a quick mood boost as well.
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