We know that exercise has wonderful mental health benefits, so it can certainly help your addiction recovery. Knowing and practicing, however, are two different things!
What if you could find a way to work out that was flexible, fun, and didn’t feel like a chore?
A new form of working out, developed during the pandemic, helps people struggling with addiction, recovery, and mental health. It’s called: intuitive exercise, and you’ll never hate physical activities again!
Many studies have shown that increasing fitness decreases levels of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress. Cortisol affects blood pressure, heart function, immune system response and other bodily functions. Lowering cortisol levels through mindful exercise can help improve your mental outlook.
Some other benefits of intuitive exercise for mood and mental health
- Increased energy
- Improved mood
- Lower stress and anxiety
- Improve strength
- More stamina
- Better quality of sleep
- Better bone density
- Improved self-esteem
1. Connect with your body and learn what it needs.
Intuitive exercise is flexible and doesn’t require strict rules.
Break free from the all-or-nothing message; you don’t need to spend hours at the gym every week. There are massive benefits to simply walking briskly, stretching, or taking a gentle yoga class once a week. Just 10 minutes of movement each day will change your fitness and mood.
2. Because you focus on finding ways to move, not the number of hours at the gym, this allows you to find something you enjoy.
Make all movement equal.
Find activities you enjoy! Research studies show that deriving pleasure from exercising is one of the most significant factors in developing a consistent workout habit. When you like the things you’re doing, you’re more likely to keep moving. Conversely, activities that bring pain or discomfort will likely avoid. Intuitive exercise is all about exploring different kinds of physical activity until you find something (or several) that really works for you. Think outside the box.
What exactly does intuitive exercise mean?
It’s about feeling your body, its individual differences, and listening to its signals. This way, you can find what works and live a better, healthier life.
We should exercise for our physical and mental health, not just to look better.
One of the easiest ways to change your outlook and redefine WHY you are exercising in the first place. For example, focus on feeling good rather than looking good.
3. Achieve your fitness goals faster.
Moving your body should feel good.
People who work out regularly tend to suffer less stress and depression. This is not about forcing yourself into a workout routine; it’s about keeping healthy in mind and body. Doing this will be one of the best allies in your recovery.
If you can decouple exercise from weight loss and focus on the many other health benefits, you may find your body will respond better when you stop obsessing about losing weight. Exercise rigidity is not a punishment for eating! It’s something we do to maintain a healthy mind-body connection.
What are the physical and mental benefits?
Doing what you love makes you feel better about yourself, leading to healthier habits. Develop a more positive relationship with your mental and physical health.
Being able to focus on other things rather than your weight or body size makes exercising much easier and more enjoyable.
Be patient. Sometimes things will go awry, and you might feel like giving up. Just remember that everyone starts somewhere, and you’re doing better than most. Even though it sounds cheesy, you’re making progress. And if you’re not, that’s okay too.
4. You’ll enjoy working out much more than before.
We all know how hard it is to stick to a program. Intuition is key to staying motivated.
Intuition is listening to what your body needs rather than forcing it to conform to an arbitrary schedule. This method can also help people with compulsive exercise, exercise addiction, or dysfunctional exercise behaviors.
Ask yourself what types of activities you might enjoy most and what will easily fit into your routine. Make it as simple as possible to follow through, a little bit each day.
A good workout should leave you feeling energized, relaxed, and ready to face the world. So set your intentions to ensure you are left feeling accomplished, well, and proud of yourself for taking the time to move.
5. Think more about what you can do rather than what you cannot do.
Don’t let outside influences determine what counts as your form of movement.
Having a strong sense of self-awareness is essential. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t push yourself. Take a step back and assess why you aren’t comfortable. Maybe your body has had enough for the day. Maybe the activity you chose doesn’t appeal to what you need that day. Whatever your body is telling you, be aware of it.
Listen to your Body- When you pay attention to what you’re doing, you’ll know if it’s working for you. Your body will give you feedback about its state of health and wellbeing; in other words, exercise should leave you feeling energized, not exhausted, and develop your body trust. We all have different bodies, so we should find activities that work for us. Be sure not to compare your routine to others.
You’re less likely to give up if you know you have options.
To start with, change the way you think about obligatory exercise.
Trying gentler forms of movement does not mean you’re weak or lazy. It’s just a different way to help you enjoy working out.
By learning your body’s signals, you can challenge yourself in a healthy way to reach new goals. These goals might not have visible results, but each time you reach them, you will feel a greater sense of accomplishment, giving you the motivation to keep pushing on. If you’re inspired by a friend’s workout, adapt their workout to fit your needs.
Learn to trust your own judgment and listen to what you truly need. If you need a day off because you’ve been exercising a lot during the past few days, grant yourself the day off. As long as you are in tune with what your body wants and needs, there is no wrong way to work out.
Benefits of Exercise in Recovery
Implementing movement into your routine is a simple way you can strengthen your commitment to recovery. There will be times when you’ll feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Something as simple as gentle activity can greatly reduce stress.
When you’re having a hard time, allow yourself the time and space to get outside and connect with yourself through moving. Be in the moment and do what feels right in the moment. Feel the sun on your face and the grass under your feet. If you feel like doing something intense to get your stress out, do it. If you need something more relaxing, try stretching or walking.
The great thing about implementing fitness in your recovery process is that you can do what works best for you at any given time. Give yourself permission to not compare yourself to others and to feel free in how you move. You will find that your mood improves and the urge to make impulsive decisions decreases.
Intuitive Exercise Key Takeaways
Physical fitness is important, but HOW and WHY you do it matters just as much.
- Movement improves your mood.
- You’ll feel less stressed and anxious.
- Physical activity should feel like play, not torture.
- Don’t beat yourself up over missed sessions.
- Include a variety of activities; don’t get into the rut of doing one thing over and over again.
- Stop if it hurts! Don’t move when your body is injured or tired.
Sober Life is here to help you find the best tools to help you with your recovery. Moving with intent is an extremely helpful one. This and every other approach you take toward your recovery should aim to bring positive change into your life. If you are struggling and don’t know where to turn, look no further than Sober Life. Call us today at (619) 304-3014. We look forward to hearing from you.