The Role of Fitness in Self-Care

Exercise is a great way to fast-track your self-care routine. It provides benefits for your physical, medical and emotional health. If you’ve put yourself on the backburner for too long, here are reasons why you need to invest in this type of self-care now.

How Fitness Benefits Self-Care:

Taking good care of yourself is not just important. Research shows it can improve both mental and physical health. 

  • Exercise boosts your self-esteem.
    A 2008 study showed that both men and women had a boost in self-esteem after exercise – although for different reasons! Men felt their sports competence improved while women had more positive feelings about physical appearance.

  • Aerobic exercise provides mental clarity.
    Research shows that regular exercise that makes your heart pound and body sweat improves verbal memory and learning. It also helps boost thinking.

  • It improves feelings of happiness.
    As CNN reports, that’s because the stress and exertion experienced during exercise produce chemicals in the brain called endorphins. These “natural painkillers” bring feelings of euphoria, commonly called a runner’s high – only without the worry of addiction.

  • Fitness promotes self-healing for those in recovery from addiction.
    A recent pilot study showed that people in recovery who exercised regularly were less likely to relapse and more likely to have a better mental outlook. This was a small selection and more studies must be done, but the additional benefits above can serve someone in recovery as well.

Photo credit by  Unsplash

Photo credit by Unsplash

Finding Time For Fitness

The most common excuse that people use to avoid exercise is that they don’t have the time. In today’s busy world, that’s often true. How can we make more time for this important priority? Here are some tips:

  • Eliminate one unhealthy task and re-allot that time toward exercise. A good example is time wasted on social media.

  • If you have a desk job, be sure to stretch and walk around. If you work a lot, you might have to be more creative. Watch these 10 best exercises you can do at your desk at Forbes.

  • Set aside a certain amount of time at a particular hour of the day a few times a week. 30 minutes of exercise three times a week is a great way to start.

  • Stay active on the other days. You can achieve that by walking more, parking your car further away, taking stairs instead of escalators, etc. You might want to invest in a fitness device that tracks your steps.

Even when doing a 30-minute workout, take a few minutes of that time to warm up before exercising. Take the last few minutes to “cool down” by stretching your muscles afterward. Both of these tasks will help you avoid injury.

Finding A Routine That Works For You

A fitness program is worthless if you don’t show up to do the work. Before investing in a gym membership, make sure you have a program that works for you:

  • Talk to your doctor first to find out what sort of activities you are allowed to do.

  • Find something you enjoy. If you hate gym workouts, don’t join a gym. Instead, consider something that interests you: rock climbing, yoga, biking.

  • Be sure not to overdo it, especially if you are in addiction recovery, so you don’t sustain an injury. Besides, working out harder does not necessarily give you a bigger boost. Researchers evaluated studies on this topic and discovered that 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise is enough to release those endorphins.

Exercise is an important part of self-care. It not only gives you a fit and healthy body, it boosts your mental well-being. It’s even recommended to help people in recovery progress through their program. What are you waiting for? Don’t delay. Talk to your doctor about starting a fitness routine right away.

-Jason Lewis
PS: Here are some other goodies you may want to check out.
--->BetterHelp (online therapy to boost your self-care or provide extra support during recovery)
--->Tips For Working Out At Home (a rockin' blog about at-home fitness)
--->The Benefits of Yoga in Addiction Recovery (a rockin' blog post about healing after addiction)