A Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By Edie Weinstein:
It's A Fact Exercise Helps
In 1982, a study was conducted by David Sinyor and colleagues that evidenced 69 percent of recovering alcoholics whose treatment program included daily vigorous exercise stayed sober for three months following treatment. They found that 62 percent of those whose treatment did not include a fitness routine had relapsed within that same period.
What Kind Of Exercise Works
Fitness activities may include: running, cycling, walking, sports, skating, dancing, rowing, weight lifting, yoga, Pilates, Barre classes, rigorous house cleaning, chopping wood, pulling weeds and working out at a gym. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting a new regimen and if you have special conditions, be mindful of your body’s response to a change in activity level.
How Fitness Assists with Sobriety
- Many addicts have neglected their physical condition, so exercise may remediate damage
- Provides a social outlet if done in a group such as a running club or at a gym or class
- Offers body awareness, while using may have been a way of numbing body consciousness
- Reduces impact of life stressors
- Provides goals and milestones to reach
- Gives a feeling of accomplishment
- Improved sense of self worth
- Increases the flow of dopamine which is a ‘feel good chemical’ that creates the ‘runner’s high’ that some athletes reference
- Better sleep
- An activity to fill time that formerly was taken up by drinking
- Reduces anxiety and depression
- Weight loss
- Improves circulation
Enjoy robust good health by lifting weights instead of a bottle and be a woman or man in motion rather than numbing your emotions with substances.
Jessica is a single mom who began drinking at an early age out of boredom and because it was a way of bonding with her older brother. Over the years, like many alcoholics, she used her substance of choice to numb feelings of inadequacy. She became apathetic which turned to self -loathing. In short order, found herself in black out binges; sometimes in bewilderment how she got to the places where she was waking up. When she awoke in a hospital bed with her mother and young daughter at her side, she knew that a change had to take place.
Enter power lifting in 2013. She now holds several titles and records as a result of her determination and conditioning. “Like all addictions, when you’re ready to stop, you’re ready to stop. You’ve got to find what drives you. For me, that’s my daughter and that’s training.” Jessica also pays it forward to by helping others. “When I think about drinking, I take a step on the platform,” and then reaches out to those with addictions and in the gym she now owns, assists them in creating a program that shows them that there is another way to live and that’s through fitness.
In the Philadelphia area, a CrossFit center offers memberships for free for addicts who can’t afford the fee in exchange for volunteering at events. Those who attend have found a new interest as well as a new lease on life.