How Physical Fitness Facilitates Recovery


Author Jason Lewis is a personal trainer and the primary caretaker of his mom after her surgery. He created StrongWell.org and enjoys curating fitness programs that cater to the needs of people over 65.


Exercise can play a huge role in helping you recover from difficult times. It can heal both the body and mind by reducing stress and building up self-confidence. This is important for individuals who are struggling to get through their days. Mental health is improved through physical fitness because it helps you maintain an all-around healthy routine for the long term. Here are a few exercises you can try that will help you stay energized and improve your mindset.


Yoga


Yoga can bring you to a state of mind where you feel peaceful and restorative. It’s one of the most relaxing types of exercise and has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression — all issues that you can struggle with after facing difficult times. When someone is depressed or they’ve given up on life, they put their body through the wringer. Yoga, however, can help you regain your strength.


The hardest part of yoga is the poses. However, these poses help you focus on your breathing and commit to your body, which is an important skill to learn that you can use in your new, fulfilling life. According to Yoga International, the breathing techniques needed during yoga can be used throughout other parts of your life, too, to help you calm down during difficult conversations or just to relieve pent-up stress. You can add meditation to your yoga practice to reap the full benefits of mindfulness and relaxation.


To start practicing yoga, you will need to get the right gear like a yoga mat and comfortable pants. If you’re practicing on your own outside a studio, such as your own home, there are countless yoga apps and videos you can follow along with through a tablet or smartphone. Invest in a sturdy phone stand to keep your device secure and stable as you go through your asanas.


Running


Running is one of the most common ways that you can blow off steam. Not only is it highly rewarding, but it can strengthen both your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. It’s an easy way to relieve the stress or pain that you may feel after going through difficult life events. Running can provide so many benefits to someone struggling to stay sober, including improved mood, suppressed drug cravings, and reduced temptations to relapse. If you’ve used substances to cope with issues in the past, running can help you keep from going back to your old habits.


You can also achieve a “runner’s high” if you run a certain distance, which fills your body with positive feelings. Running can clear your mind, give you a more positive outlook, increase your learning ability, and allow you to focus your mind on the things that matter most. Going for a run can help you take back control of your life.


The most important piece of running gear you can have is the right shoes. The right running shoes will make it easy to run comfortably, while the wrong shoe will cause shin splints, pain, and even blisters.


Hiking


They say that nature can cure just about anything. Whatever you’re struggling with, hiking is a good way to sweat a little and focus your mind on the things you care about. You don’t have to go on a 6-month hike along the Pacific Crest Trail like Cheryl Strayed did in Wild to find peace; you can simply go for a hike to your local park. The outdoors has a way of showing you lessons that you wouldn’t have been able to learn otherwise.


Hiking can build your self-awareness and self-esteem and allow you to reach your full potential. Hiking can be done either on your own or with a buddy. It’s not the most relaxing sport, but it will teach you how to rely on yourself, especially when you’re climbing steep mountains in harsh weather.


Clear your mind and go outside the next time you feel overwhelmed by negative thoughts. Leave behind your phone and allow yourself to be mindful. Part of recovering is learning to love yourself again, and hiking is a great way to do that.


No matter what exercise you decide to invest your time in, you will soon learn the mental and physical benefits. You should make sure to always stay hydrated and eat healthy energy-packed foods to fuel your new hobby. If you need more guidance in this new direction you’re taking, reach out to Sophie for nutrition coaching and more.


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