Lacing up your running shoes and hitting the pavement is good for anyone, but it can offer special benefits to people who are in recovery from addiction. One of the most important aspects of recovery is finding ways to occupy their time and mind and replacing unhealthy patterns with new habits. For some people, running can be an important part of their new, healthy lifestyle.
In many ways, running is the perfect addition to your life in recovery. Recovery from addiction is not a final destination–it’s a lifelong pursuit, comparable to running a very long race. In both running and life in recovery, you must find ways to stay engaged and adapt to new challenges.
In recovery, you may experience a new challenge that requires new commitment and dedication to sobriety. When running, you may find an unexpected hill and have to work harder than you thought. Taking up running in addiction recovery may help you develop the persistence and dedication you need to tackle any challenge life gives you.
Exploring the Benefits of Running in Addiction Recovery
Life in recovery can present challenges. There are often many patterns and habits to break and new skills to learn. Your body and mind need to heal. Your relationships may need extra attention and repair, or you may need to make new friends altogether.
Running offers many benefits that are specific to people in recovery from addiction. For some, running becomes something new to spend your time and energy on and can be part of a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle. There are five important benefits to be gained from taking up running in recovery.
1. Shift Your Focus
Running requires time and energy. Taking up running as a hobby can fill your time, help you shift your focus outside of yourself, and lead to new adventures and experiences.
2. Heal Your Body
One of the obvious benefits of running is that it is fantastic exercise. Running strengthens your muscles and can make your heart and lungs work more efficiently.
3. Heal Your Mind
Research suggests that running may help your brain heal from the damage caused by substance abuse. It gives you a boost of endorphins, which can make you feel happier or more positive.
4. Lower Stress
Learning how to manage stress is an important part of addiction recovery. Running has been shown to reduce physical and emotional tension, promote clearer thinking, and lower blood pressure. It can improve sleep, too.
5. Improve Self-Esteem
Running in recovery can help improve the way you feel about yourself. Running can give you a sense of accomplishment and pride, lead to noticeable physical changes and strength, and improve your self-discipline. You may also meet new friends in the process.
The benefits of running in recovery are numerous–and you don’t need to sign up for a marathon to get them. Incorporating running into your life in recovery may be one of the best decisions you make to help you reach your goal of lifelong sobriety.
How to Begin Running in Recovery
Not everyone loves running in the beginning. Whether you have run in the past or not, getting started is often the most difficult part of taking up running in recovery. The good news is that even a small amount of running can provide many benefits for your mind and body.
You don’t need a lot of equipment to get started. A good pair of sturdy running shoes and weather-appropriate clothing is about all you’ll need.
Some other tips to get started:
- Talk to a medical professional before starting a new exercise
- Ease into running–aim for a few short, slow runs in the beginning
- Don’t be afraid to do a combination of running and walking
- Join a running group or find a partner to run with
- Don’t worry about speed or distance–just spend time moving your body
Build your distance and speed slowly over time and rest your body if you feel sore. In time, you may find that running is an important part of your life in recovery.
See if Adventure-Based Recovery is Right For You
At Moving Mountains Recovery, we know that addiction doesn’t simply affect your body—it affects your mind, spirit, and community, too. We offer a range of adventure-based programs designed to help people not simply overcome their addiction, but to learn how to thrive in recovery.
If you or someone you love require addiction treatment or help at any stage of recovery, please call us to learn more about how we can support you.