Benefits of Physical Fitness in Recovery

Estimated watch time: 4 mins 02 secs


Having a consistent fitness routine is an important part of being a resilient person. There are mental and physical benefits. Use this guide to learn specific ways to reevaluate your current routine or create one that’s right for you. Ask yourself more about the role fitness plays in your life currently, and where you’d like to take that.

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Physical Fitness

As you’re likely aware of the array of benefits physical fitness offers within both general and mental health, it may come as no surprise that a common characteristic among extremely resilient individuals is a regular exercise routine. Research has shown that not only does exercise reduce risk for a variety of diseases and disorders, but also engages neurotransmitters and hormones that have been associated with improved mood and memory, increased energy, reduced anxiety and depression, and overall increase in quality of life. Additionally, regular exercise helps to manage weight, enhances sleep quality, increases libido, improves attention, boosts recovery after trauma, and has been associated with reduced neurological disorders that develop later in life.  That said, it may be difficult to start and maintain a regular exercise regimen, and we get busy with the daily aspects of life’s demands, right? So, here are a few tips as to what might be helpful to consider as you are thinking about developing or reevaluating your physical fitness plan:

  1. Educate yourself: the physical goals don’t always come first, if we aren’t sure what they should be given our current physical and mental health status. Learn what will be best for you and how it will impact your health and well-being.
  2. Talking to your doctor may help clarify some of these questions, especially if you have specific questions or concerns given your history or goals.
  3. Working with a trainer or group can also help to clarify some of these questions, but may also hold you more accountable and create more motivation toward maintaining a regular fitness schedule.
  4. Trying different types of exercise may be warranted if you’re not sure what will be the best fit. Similarly, if you’ve found yourself plateauing or becoming bored with your current routine, it may be time to change things up!
  5. Make physical fitness a part of your routinewhether it’s more social with friends, family or coworkers, or during a scheduled time on a regular basis, make it easy to say yes and hard to say no.
  6. Gradually increasing your intensity will help to increase your physical resilience, just as our immune system requires in order to fight off illness and disease.
  7. Also, be sure to allow your body to rest and recover from intense or regular physical exercise.
  8. Establish goals and record your progress. This will help you to feel productive and gives you bench markers for success.
  9. Focus on the positive feelings resulting from the outcomes you experience with physical fitness, as well as increased self-esteem.
  10. Along with your routine, also be sure to practice healthy eating and sleeping habits as this will allow you to get the most from your physical fitness routine. You should be able to feel and see a difference when these aspects are all aligned.
  11. Finally, don’t forget to reward yourself  in healthy ways when you achieve goals.
  12. If physical fitness is a part of you and your sense of self, you can much more easily maintain this routine and the many added benefits that come with it!

We encourage you to engage in the next module of related prompts to get you thinking about your physical fitness…

Physical Fitness Questions:

  1. Some of the benefits to physical exercise are:
    1. Improved mood
    2. Improved sex life
    3. Reduction in risks for a variety of health and mental health diseases
    4. All of the above
  2. What is the most beneficial result you’ve seen from either your own physical fitness routine, or from someone else?
  3. Do you currently have a physical fitness routine? If so, what does this look like?  If not, what roadblocks get in the way of being able to develop or maintain a fitness routine? How might you use a strategy discussed to, in order to reevaluate your physical fitness routine?

Other Addiction & Mental Health Resources

The Recovery Village has several, free resources for those living with addiction or mental health conditions and their loved ones. From videos, to clinically-hosted webinars and recovery meetings, to helpful, medically-reviewed articles, there is something for everyone. If you need more direct help, please reach out to one of our representatives.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.