• When you start to make life changes and stopping or reducing your use of substances you will probably find you have lot’s of spare time. You can put the time to good use by starting some simple short exercises!

There are lots of different benefits to exercise such as improved health, lower blood pressure, lower risk of heart disease, but when in recovery or treatment from substance misuse there are some primary benefits as follows;

Exercise can enhance feelings of wellbeing – all which make life more manageable and enjoyable…increasing the possibility and sustainability of recovery.

Improved sleep – exercise is proven to improve the sleep patterns and promote healthier sleep routines in those who partake in 20 mins of exercise at least 5 days a week.

Exercise relieves and reduced stress – tension builds in our bodies and getting moving help to alleviate this, and release the negative emotions attached to them. Exercise is proven to relieve psychological and physical stress…get moving!

It naturally & positively improves brain chemistry – when you exercise your body releases endorphins – a natural high – these are the same endorphins released when you use drugs. Only the release caused by drugs results in an imbalance that interfere’s with your ability to feel pleasure, happiness and satisfaction. Regular physical activity during treatment and recovery will help you reintroduce natural levels of endorphins into your system…helping you to feel better!

Improves your outlook – exercising can give you feelings of accomplishment, pride and self-worth as you see your body get fitter and stronger and you reach little goals that you have set yourself. those who exercise report increased feelings of self-confidence and optimism and reduced feelings of depression and anxiety.

Gives you ‘you time’ and time to think – through movement, you can take time away from the hustle and bustle and refocus your thoughts on your own wellbeing, having a brief break from the daily grind. You could leave your work out with a clearer mind, feeling more rejuvenated and optimistic. Having this break, getting some clarity can sometimes make recovery much more manageable.

Getting active

The recommendations are to do 150 minutes of exercise a week (which is about 21 minutes per day, or 50 minutes 3 times a week).

There are lots of different options to be more active, whether you like walking, gardening, running, team sports, or work out dvd’s. Look out for:

  • Football teams
  • Walking and jogging groups
  • Yoga
  • Visits to gyms

NHS Choices has a whole web site dedicated to different options click here to find out more. They even have some exercise video clips online.

If you like running or want to give it a try, download the Couch to 5k app to your smartphone. This is a free 9 week running plan for people who want to be more active. It’s perfect if you are new to running – the plan is all about starting off slowly and building up gradually. Anyone can start it you don’t need to be fit!

Ways to improve your wellbeing...