Updated on December 17th, 2020
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At this point, it’s probably fair to say that many of us are tired of being confined to our homes. Even while local governments across the United States gradually reopen and return to more “normal” daily life and operations, the process will take time and many people still remain cautious to return to public places and activities amid a pandemic.
As we all struggle to figure out what this looks like in our daily lives, it’s important to stay physically active, even if you’re not able to leave your home very often. Physical activity not only lessens your risk for relapse, but it also helps reduce boredom, improve mental health, and boost your body’s production of endorphins, which will lift your mood.
Fortunately, there are many ways to stay active at home. Here are eight great ways you can get moving without leaving your house or apartment.
Does Exercise Help Recovery?
Yes, exercise has many physical and mental benefits that can help people in recovery sustain their sobriety. According to Harvard Health Publishing, there is scientific evidence that exercise can help people conquer addiction, especially when it’s combined with other forms of treatment, such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT), psychotherapy, and mutual help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).1
Specifically, exercise can be a great distraction from cravings and workouts add structure to the day. Exercise classes or groups can also help people form positive social connections.
Proven Benefits of Exercise In Addiction Recovery
Exercising regularly can sometimes require a lot of motivation and determination, but there are many worthwhile benefits of putting forth the extra effort, especially if you’re recovering from addiction.
- Reduces your risk of relapse: Regular physical activity decreases your risk for relapse by reducing cravings, insomnia, and boredom, and alleviating feelings of depression and anxiety. These are all major triggers for relapse.
- Improves your mental health: Regular exercise also improves your mental health by boosting your self-esteem, wellbeing, and overall feelings of happiness. Many people who struggle with addiction also suffer from mental health problems that persist long after detox and rehab are over. Holistic treatment like exercise can help people feel better, sometimes without requiring medication.
- Lifts your mood: Mood swings are common in the early stages of addiction recovery, but regular exercise can boost your body’s production of endorphins, which will lift your mood, make you feel better, and help you keep a positive mindset, even on difficult days.
- Eases withdrawal symptoms: One study found that physical exercise reduced the severity of withdrawal symptoms in people recovering from alcohol, nicotine, and illegal drug addiction. Many detox and rehab centers recommend some form of physical activity during treatment, whether it be yoga, walking, or basic cardio and strength training, as many individuals find that it’s helpful.
- Helps people establish a healthy routine. Adding exercise to your daily routine can help you establish a healthy routine by adding structure to it and influencing the people, places, and things you regularly interact with.
Fitness for Recovering Addicts: 8 Ways to Stay Active At Home
Whether you’re quarantining or the cold winter weather is keeping you inside, if you’re struggling to find ways to stay active at home here are eight great ways you can get moving without leaving your house or apartment.
Pilates is a great form of exercise that is easy to do at home and is very versatile for all skill levels. It also consists of slow and controlled movements, so it won’t put any pressure on your knees and joints as high-impact exercises will. Physically, the benefits are endless. Pilates improves circulation, helps reduce back pain, improves digestion, increases energy levels, and strengthens your immune system.2 However, pilates also provides many mental health benefits, as it reduces stress and anxiety, improves concentration and focus, and reduces insomnia.
Yoga is another excellent at-home exercise option and there are many different online yoga videos available on YouTube for beginners. Perfect for people in recovery, yoga is a low-risk form of exercise and the relaxation techniques used in yoga practice have many benefits, such as reducing chronic pain, lowering blood pressure, reducing insomnia, decreasing stress, and sharpening mental focus and concentration. You’ll likely also see physical results, like increased muscle strength and tone, increased flexibility, more energy, and weight loss.3
- Bodyweight exercises
Simple bodyweight exercises like planks, squats, glute bridges, chair dips, pushups, and situps can do wonders for your health and mental well-being. These types of exercises can be completed at home without any gym equipment or weights and they can easily be modified to fit your fitness level. Bodyweight exercises are also very versatile so you won’t get bored and you’ll continue to see physical results if that’s your aim.4 In addition, you’ll also likely get a major boost in energy and mood as a result of consistent bodyweight exercise routines.
- Unstructured “movement” time
Making time for unstructured movement throughout your day is a great way to stay active without having to tune into an online workout class. Simple activities like playing with your kids in the backyard, doing housework like laundry or mopping, gardening, or dancing are all great ways to get your blood and endorphins pumping. You may not consider dancing or housework “exercise,” but you’ll still reap some very real health benefits from these activities.
- Walk while you take work calls
Getting 8,000-10,000 steps in each day is a great goal, but can be somewhat challenging if you are primarily confined to your home and working a desk job. Instead of sitting at your desk taking work calls, why not pace around your office or home and get a few steps in while you’re at it? This is a great way to keep moving as you go about your daily routine.
- Stand while you work
Although working a desk job can pose additional challenges when you’re trying to stay active, standing up while you work can help your body burn additional hundreds or even thousands of calories a day! You may not have access to a standing desk, but you can prop your computer up on top of a stack of books or work at your kitchen island while you stand for short periods of time. Standing instead of sitting may seem like a small change to make but on top of the calorie-burning benefits, the muscle activity from standing while you work is also associated with a reduced risk for stroke and heart attack.
- Take frequent activity breaks
Taking frequent breaks for physical activity can help you stay motivated, feel energized, and can also be mentally refreshing. Whether you’re working from home or not, sitting for long periods can contribute to feelings of restlessness, anxiety, and depression. Even if it feels pointless to stop working, get up, and walk circles around your house for ten minutes, frequent breaks can help relieve mental fog and restlessness.
- Replace your chair with an exercise ball
The muscle activity required to sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair can help you burn hundreds of extra calories each day. Replacing your chair with an exercise ball is an easy way to stay active throughout the day because you are activating your core muscles while also improving your posture, which takes physical work and effort.
Staying active at home isn’t as difficult as you may think. Even after businesses and stores completely re-open to the public, these tips are things you can do daily to maintain an active lifestyle and ward off relapse triggers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for everyone in many different ways, but if you’re struggling to stay sober and you need help getting back on track, call Eudaimonia Recovery Homes today. We can assist you with more information about our recovery support services, online and in-person IOP, and sober living homes.
Struggling to Stay Sober? Eudaimonia Recovery Homes Can Help
The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for everyone in many different ways, but if you’re struggling to stay sober and you need help getting back on track, regular exercise likely won’t be enough to lifestyle changes last. Call Eudaimonia Recovery Homes today to learn more about our sober living homes in Texas and Colorado and our structured recovery programming. We can assist you with more information about our recovery support services, online and in-person IOP, and sober living homes.