When you make the decision to be sober, you are making one of the healthiest choices for your body, mind and soul. Your success in sobriety, however, relies on you making a lot of other healthy choices, ranging from eating well to attending support group meetings. Chief among these decisions is the choice to be physically active.
Substance abuse addiction takes a huge toll on the body, and once you have gone through detoxification and recovery, you have the opportunity to physically rebuild yourself. Without your dependence on drugs or alcohol, you can focus on getting in shape—and that will have repercussions in many areas of your life.
If you decide you want to work out a set number of hours each week, that is a tangible goal, and you can direct your thoughts and energy towards accomplishing it. This is an example of making a positive change in your life, as opposed to dwelling in negative habits. By filling your days with fitness-related pursuits and staying busy that way, you’ll have less time to fall into the trap of relapse. Plus, exercise releases endorphins, the chemicals that create a euphoric feeling. When you’re physically active on a regular basis, you’re more likely to be happier and less stressed, and you won’t be as drawn towards substances—your satisfaction comes from knowing that you are taking care of yourself in the best way possible. You’ll benefit emotionally and mentally, as well as physically.
With the longer days and warmer months of spring and summer, this is the perfect time to focus on staying active. So what are you waiting for? Pick a few options from our list of activities below and start working towards a healthier you.
Activities You Can Do Alone or with Others
- Walking. This is the perfect way to get started on your fitness journey if you’re a beginner. You can adjust the pace and distance of your walks as you build up stamina, and eventually, even start jogging. Need a goal? Enter a 5K race and train for it.
- Camping. This is an affordable way to get out and have some fun, especially with a group of friends.
- Outdoor recreational leagues. Joining a volleyball, softball, basketball or even a dodgeball team is wonderful for staying active, plus you get to form social connections with your teammates.
- Dancing. This may mean taking a ballet barre workout class, or having a dance party with friends. Getting down to the beat will leave you feeling upbeat.
- Tennis. You and a friend can hit the court together—for a bonus, go out for a green juice afterward so you can spend some time investing in your friendship.
- Swimming. Find a gym or community rec center with a pool, and start swimming laps to get stronger. Of course, recreational swimming at a pool, lake or ocean is enjoyable, too.
- Gardening. Inspired by the beautiful spring flowers you see all around you at this time of year? Plant some of your own and create a garden where you can unwind and relax. You can also develop healthy eating habits by planting a vegetable garden, so your diet will get more whole foods. Don’t have the space for a garden? Potted herbs on a kitchen windowsill or a window box of flowers works, too.
- Spring cleaning. Maybe it’s not as fun as some of the other activities on this list, but you’re staying active when you dust, vacuum, and do other household chores. You have the added benefit of getting a clean home at the end, and tidier surroundings can help you feel happier and more positive.
- Vacationing. Taking a break can help you release tension and stress, and can be a bonding experience if you travel with friends. There’s plenty to do at the beach, everything from surfing to strolling along the sand and hunting for shells, and it’s a beautifully inspiring setting. Or visit a major urban metropolis, where you can spend hours walking and exploring the city’s streets, museums, parks and other attractions.
Activities That Promote Mindfulness
- Yoga. Mindfulness is a practice of strengthening your focus and concentration, and there are certain physical activities that lend themselves beautifully to this. One of them is yoga: While you are working on developing strength and flexibility in your postures, you can use deep, rhythmic breathing to center your mind.
- Meditation. Meditation uses mantras or guided techniques to clear the brain of extraneous thoughts so you will be more mindful. A popular practice that incorporates physical activity is tai chi, which has been called “mindful movement.”
- Hiking. Find a picturesque trail and start walking. As you continue on your hike, take the time to engage the senses and pay attention to your surroundings. Look at the brilliant colors of the wildflowers, hear the chirping birds or feel the bark on a majestic oak tree. You’re learning how to be present in the moment.
Activities That Help Others
Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose, and you’ll get to meet other people with similar interests. There’s a wealth of opportunities out there, including some that will help you stay active:
- Helping at an animal shelter. Dogs need to be walked, cats need to be fed and rabbits cages need to be cleaned—there are plenty of jobs that have to be done at a shelter.
- Cleaning up a park. Often, volunteer groups are hard at work beautifying beaches, trails and open spaces. Go out and get your hands dirty, and create something lovely your community can enjoy.
- Assisting a neighbor in need. If you have an elderly neighbor, offer to do any chores they may need help with, which can be anything from mowing the lawn to repainting a room.
- Coaching a team. If there’s a sport you enjoy or played in school, see if you can volunteer as a coach with your local league. Your city may also offer a sports league for athletes with physical challenges and volunteers are always needed to help them play.
Staying active can be a crucial component of a sober lifestyle. If you are ready to commit to your sobriety but need help getting started, contact Casa Palmera. Our experienced and empathetic staff members can help you determine which of our programs is right for you.