by Sheila Olson of fitshiela.com
When it comes to exercise and physical fitness, overdoing it can undo all the progress you make
running, lifting weights, and doing cardio. Once you’ve found an exercise routine you really like,
it may seem like the most natural thing in the world to keep going, but your body needs rest and
time to recuperate from all the stretching and strain your muscles and joints undergo during a
workout. You’re apt to pull a muscle or tear a ligament if you continually push yourself.
Overdoing it can cause your heart muscles to thicken, which may produce arrhythmias, and
possibly even cardiac arrest. Maintaining an exercise program is a great thing for your body as
long as you build in time to relax.
The right reasons
Remember, you should be exercising for the right reasons: to stay in shape and reduce stress, not
to place undue and dangerous strain on your body. If you’re recovering from addiction, exercise
is a great way to maintain your sobriety but it can easily become an obsessive pursuit that
produces unwanted effects. A steady, consistent, and moderate exercise program does wonders
for your body.
Whatever form of exercise you prefer, you’ll get the most out of it by doing four, 30-minute
workouts a week. Many people have turned to HIIT (high-intensity interval training), a regimen
marked by brief periods of intensive exercise followed by periods of inactivity, which allows you
to get in an effective workout without risking damage to joints, muscles, or your heart. You have
to be ready to work hard during the brief exercise bouts, but it can be a good way to achieve
balance in our workout program. Instead of driving to the gym, you may want to consider setting
up a home gym to do these workouts. Find some extra room in your home in the garage or
basement to set up this space.
Balance comes with rest and relaxation; it’s time you need to take away from a strenuous
exercise program. Relaxation helps keep your blood pressure under control, alleviates the
harmful symptoms of stress, and wards off depression. Take time to do something that relaxes
you, something you really enjoy and look forward to. It might be enjoying a good book with a
cup of coffee. Or it could be doing some low-impact gardening or yard work. Take a walk in
your favorite park, listen to soothing music, or take a nap. The point is, you have to find a way to
work in some downtime if you’re going to exercise.
Meditation and yoga
Meditation is an excellent complement to physical exercise because it benefits mental and
emotional health. It’s a mental discipline that lowers your heart rate and calms your thoughts,
reducing stress and leaving you feeling relaxed and refreshed. Yoga and tai chi combine physical
and mental discipline and improve flexibility and muscle tone. Experts in osteopathic medicine
often cite the benefits of yoga, noting that it builds strength and awareness and a sense of
harmony between the mind and body. Many osteopaths consider yoga to be an excellent form of
Exercise and addiction recovery
Exercise is especially beneficial to people in addiction recovery because it reduces the cravings
that can lead to relapses. Exercise is also a healthy alternative to drugs and alcohol, providing a
pleasurable sensation that people seek from drugs and alcohol. In other words, exercise
substitutes a positive form of rewarding behavior for a negative (substance abuse) form of
Maintaining good health is a matter of maintaining balance between the body and mind. Exercise
is key to a happy and healthy life, but so is relaxation and taking time out to alleviate stress.
Don’t underestimate the importance of some good old-fashioned downtime once in a while.