Physical exercise is a central theme in many substance abuse treatment programs. In fact, if you plan to attend a residential treatment center, workout clothing will often be included on the list of personal items that you should plan to take with you. After you've completed treatment and are transitioning back into society, you might plan to continue to work out. Physical exercise not only provides myriad emotional and physical health benefits, but can also help to keep you occupied and prevent boredom, which could lead you down a path toward relapsing. In order to exercise in a healthy way that honors your recovery, keep these considerations in mind.
Don't Be Too Strict With Goals
In treatment, you'll learn about the value of setting goals, but also of keeping your stress level low. Stress, of course, can be a trigger to relapsing. When it comes to working out after you leave your treatment program, it's a good idea to set goals. For example, you might plan to walk for 30 minutes each day. Be wary of being too ambitious and strict with your goals, however. If you make this mistake, it may be difficult to meet your goals on certain days, which can be stressful. You want exercise to bolster your sobriety, not create stress that threatens it.
Pick The "Right" Activities
You want to focus on physical activities that are not only healthy, but that put you around healthy people. Although many people who enjoy exercise are indeed healthy, this isn't always the case. For example, there are drug cultures that are common in some sports. If you're thinking about getting into weightlifting, you might encounter people who abuse performance-enhancing drugs — and you won't want to be in any sort of drug-related environment. Even something as seemingly innocent as snowboarding has a connection with marijuana use, in many cases.
Get A Workout Partner
Finding a sober sponsor and sober friends are likely high on your to-do list after you leave your treatment program. You should also look for someone who leads a sober lifestyle and enjoys physical exercise. A workout partner or even multiple partners can help you to stay focused on your goals. Workout buddies foster accountability; on a day that you might be thinking about drug use, you can call your workout partner, share your situation, and he or she will likely encourage you to meet up and get moving.
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