Physical activity is incredibly important for mental illness and addiction recovery, as it helps our mind, body, and spirit get back into shape. Either condition can certainly have a negative effect on our bodies – we may stop eating healthy, we may hurt ourselves with negative self-talk, self-harm or by abusing substances, and more – all of which can bring about major repercussions on our body functioning optimally. It doesn’t have to be a lot to start; sometimes, a simple walk a day will be an effective way to begin getting in the habit of moving.
Previous studies have shown many benefits to physical activity in recovery, such as:
- Added structure to your days
- It fills up extra time that could tempt you to engage in unhealthy behaviors
- Exercise releases endorphins, which can boost your mood and lower your stress
- Physical activity can help promote new connections in your brain and body, ones that may have been damaged from mental illness and/or substance abuse
A 2016 study published in the journal Psychological Medicine sought to explore motivating factors as well as barriers to physical activity for those with severe mental illness. They analyzed 12 studies to pull common themes, and found the most common motivating factors for those in recovery to be:
- Lose weight
- Improve mood
- Reduce stress
However, some common barriers to achieving physical activity goals were found to be:
- Low mood
- Lack of support
Of the three themes found for each area of analysis, it’s interesting to see that two factors remain the same for each: mood and stress. It’s funny to think that when we’re in a bad mood or when we’re stressed, we don’t want to do any physical activity – yet this is the very thing that lowers both of these unpleasant feelings for us! If you haven’t already, get started on your physical health and well-being by becoming involved in a healthy physical activity each day. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself, but simply picking one goal to implement each day (no matter whether you’re in a bad mood or not) can be extremely rewarding in the long-run.
Men can find freedom from addiction. At Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon, we are helping men transform their lives in mind, body, and spirit. The Tree House Man is a new breed, creating sustainable recovery through sustainable changes. Call us today for information on our programs: (503) 850-2474