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  • Let's Talk: The importance of exercise in recovery

    A place for community rundowns, special events and announcements from Counselling Online forums facilitation team.
    Community Builder
    Posts: 131
    Joined: Tue May 04, 2021 9:59 am

    Let's Talk: The importance of exercise in recovery

    Tue Jul 13, 2021 2:01 pm


    Recovery brings with it a lot of change, as you begin to move towards your goals, you will probably find you have a lot more time on your hands. You’ve probably been told a thousand times but a great way to fill in those extra hours is exercise!

    We’ve all heard people exalt the benefits of exercise. It’s great for our physical and mental health. It helps release endorphins, which reduces anxiety and stress levels and improves our sleep. It’s also a great way to get out and meet new people, through sports clubs or the gym.

    But what are the actual benefits of exercise during recovery?

    A study from the University of Virginia, found that exercise stimulates the same neural pathways which are stimulated by substance use. This pathway, the reward pathway, delivers dopamine, the chemical that creates positive feelings. The study also found that exercise can help reduce some of the negative impacts substance use can have on the brain.

    Another study found that exercise can help build self-efficacy, and that those who engage in exercise during recovery develop better coping mechanisms. They also found that exercise can be a short term distraction from cravings. It didn’t matter what exercise people were doing, whether it be cardio, weights or yoga, it has so many great benefits!

    If you’ve had a while without exercise, or have any concerns about your health, it’s always worthwhile having a check-up with your GP, to make sure everything is A-OK before you get back out there.

    So has exercise been useful for you?

    How have you incorporated it into your recovery?

    What exercise do you enjoy?

    @Alvarosyd @ScorpionPW @PnorkelPW @Simply me @Deyfhob @Spankypompay @StevenTum @cerena @chasityhd2 @bertalc1
    2 x
    Junior Member
    Posts: 20
    Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2021 2:24 pm

    Re: Let's Talk: The importance of exercise in recovery

    Thu Jul 15, 2021 9:01 pm

    Exercising is my best friend now!
    I play volleyball, do pilates, go to the gym regularly and changed my diet!

    It has been so helpful! I couldnt recommend it more!
    3 x
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 95
    Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2021 3:14 pm

    Re: Let's Talk: The importance of exercise in recovery

    Thu Jul 15, 2021 9:15 pm

    Great topic @Lhiver and great work @Alvarosyd

    I find exercise sets up my day, helps me establish a routine and for a variety of reasons helps me to cope with each day better. I’ve discovered that it’s essential for my mental health and maintaining it.

    It has an all round effect for me because I’m up earlier and feel good because I’ve done something positive for myself at the beginning of the day. I feel a sense of accomplishment as well as getting the natural release of endorphins that goes with it.

    Whether it’s watching a series on Netflix while I’m on the exercise bike, doing some weights and listening to music or probably my favourite of all exercise is swimming laps. Swimming laps is moving meditation for me and my head is just soooo clear when I finish. My breathing is in a rhythm and I’m ready to go for the day. After exercise I’m able to problem solve better and can cope with the challenges the day brings. I just feel good after exercising and don’t have a heap of unused built up energy with I can often get confused with cravings…………especially food cravings.

    I get food cravings a lot and I’ve found that a quick set of 10 push ups can ease them and stop me eating crap I don’t need. When I stop exercising my diet tends to go out the window. When diet and exercise go out the window so does my mental health.

    In short………..exercise helps me to keep the depression at bay. Even a gentle bushwalk on a weekend or stroll along the beach to get some fresh air. Life’s just better for me when I’m moving.

    Structure and routine is important in recovery. So is sleep and sleep is an area I struggle in. Getting up early to exercise before work helps me establish that structure and routine. I eat better when I exercise because I don’t want to undo my good work so I feel healthier too. At the end of the day I’m tired, feel good and have a clearer mind so I sleep better……..and sleep is underestimated in recovery.
    4 x
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 147
    Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:06 am

    Re: Let's Talk: The importance of exercise in recovery

    Thu Jul 15, 2021 9:58 pm

    This is such an important topic @Lhiver!

    It's great hearing about your journeys with this as well @Alvarosyd and @PnorkelPW.

    Physical recovery has been the area that has been the most difficult for me to find balance with.

    It has been a long journey over the years of being on a strict eating and exercise regime, getting staggering physical results and getting really physically fit then eventually dropping off and putting a whole lot of weight back on and always fluxuating.

    I do find that when I'm exercising regularly and eating mindfully my energy levels are more stable, I'm less sluggish, feel more buoyant and happy and it improves my mental health instantly from all the natural endorphins.

    I have faith that I will find a balance in all of this and a way of life that does not feel extreme in anyway but that is healthy and sustainable. I think like all things, it's a journey of trial and error and some things just take longer than others for different people.

    It's been great to reflect on this and I wonder what other peoples journey with this kind of stuff has been?
    2 x
    Simply me
    Posts: 69
    Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:51 pm

    Re: Let's Talk: The importance of exercise in recovery

    Fri Jul 16, 2021 7:02 am

    Heylo folk,
    Hhhm as soon as i hear the word éxercise' i tend to cringe a little imagining cardio something, and go gawdess do i really have to. I'm a slow paced person, I've learnt that, so I believe what works for me is gentle exercise. Just because somethings slow doesn't mean its not potent, check out some of the old traditional Tai chi masters. My cousin n I did an experiment in this. I was deep in with Tai chi at the time, 2-3 classes a week assisting my teacher and practicing at home. My cousin was doing boot camp, literally, coached by her ex-army bro, who yelled and worked hard at her. Over a year, we both were watching our food intake, we lost the same amount of weight EXCEPT she gained injuries where I didn't. I've since dropped off with my practice, but I learnt something, from my perspective, in this process. I danced around (ooooh kitchen dancing!!) with Yin yoga, and love this form too. Slow forms are like moving meditations for me, they can calm and center my mind and emotions as well as stretching the body. I have found music a real good accompaniment to such ways....

    At the moment I'm not so engaged with a formal practice, and this area of my recovery could do with some reigniting. That said, I don't drive, and walk most places in the hood. I've just pulled out a book on 50 local bush walks for our area, graded from easy to blow your fuses, and letting folk in my wee circles know I'm up for it. I'm starting with easy to medium, scenery added bonus! Infact, today a girlfriend n me are going to do a coast walk cos I expressed I wanted to crank it up some. It'll be an amble, a beautiful one. I'm an observer, stopper and looker, find and collector when I walk. Its all about the embodiment for me, being present and injoying the process. Oh yeah and I recently found a cool bike being chucked out so have oiled er up and hopefully do some riding, lucky for me it's flat round these parts ;)....

    I'll admit at this point that I was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which is basically a nerve pain thang, where the brain is sensitised, and sends messages round the body that you hurt pretty bad, despite no physical injury. So pacing and gentle is my motto, yet again. Some days its a challenge. Anyone out there suffering from pain, i know the temptation to numb it for relief eh. Keep on moving, even if it's round the block I tell myself. No gym membership there either! Whatever works for you tho eh!

    Well enough ambling for now, my typing finger muscles have had a workout, balancing my cat in one arm on my lap...
    Blessings n good vibes...
    2 x
    Community Builder
    Posts: 131
    Joined: Tue May 04, 2021 9:59 am

    Re: Let's Talk: The importance of exercise in recovery

    Fri Jul 16, 2021 3:00 pm

    That's such a great point @Simply me , exercise doesn't have to be some Sisyphean task, it can be gentle an meditative! Ti Chi sounds like it's had amazing benefits for you! Anything that is able to help you strengthen your body, without causing injury, is fantastic. It doesn't matter what intensity you're working at, it's all still good for you! :D

    I hope that your cousin has pulled up alright and hasn't had anything too serious from the boot camps!
    1 x
    Community Builder
    Posts: 131
    Joined: Tue May 04, 2021 9:59 am

    Re: Let's Talk: The importance of exercise in recovery

    Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:46 pm

    @WildeReformed you mentioned exercise was useful for you in the early days, was it any type in particular?
    1 x
    Junior Member
    Posts: 13
    Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2021 2:46 pm

    Re: Let's Talk: The importance of exercise in recovery

    Sat Jul 24, 2021 8:04 pm

    Thank you for including me @Lhiver A friend of mine bought me a program by a woman called Kayla when I first stopped using and I would do that whenever I felt the urge to pick up, or I would go for a run. It really helped with distracting me and gave me something to fill my time with. I started running again recently and doing yoga... I find yoga to be a bit challenging because it doesn't distract me as much but it's probably a good thing to learn how to sit with it. I really enjoy hiking and it's something I always want to do more of.
    3 x

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