5 Ways Exercise Can Help You Stay Sober
It’s difficult to know what to do with oneself when you first stop drinking.
You’ve just taken away the ONE thing that allowed you to unwind or cope with adversity (which is false because alcohol actually makes anxiety worse). You now feel weird performing even the most basic tasks.
You should have two left feet.
Where do you channel all of your energy? How do you deal with life now? What are you meant to do at 6 p.m. on a Friday when your friends are all off to happy hour?
You’re also not feeling well. Your spirits are low. Nothing appears to be intriguing.
I’ve also been there! I understand the frustration of sitting on the couch while your friends are all out at the bar feeling restless and wild, as if I will leap out of my skin if I continue to sit on the couch and not be at happy hour.
When you’re in this phase, the worst thing you can do is stay on your couch, stewing in your cravings and nerves. It’s a recipe for failure.
There is something you can do that will be beneficial on many levels. It may sound bad right now, but bear with me.
You can work out.
1. Exercise Enhances Mental Health
It doesn’t really matter what kind of exercise you undertake. Aerobic, yoga, or strength training are all options.
Any type of exercise will benefit your brain. It accomplishes this through stimulating brain changes like as neuronal development, decreased inflammation, and new activity patterns that create a sense of peace and well-being.
This is especially crucial for recovering heavy drinkers because alcohol causes a lot of brain damage that exercise can help you restore.
Endorphins, which are great feel-good chemicals, are released into the brain during exercise.
You’ve probably heard of the term “runner’s high.” That’s what it’s all about. If you’ve ever been into fitness or are presently doing so, you’ll understand precisely what I mean.
Have you ever finished a workout and felt incredibly clear-headed and buoyant? That’s your endorphins at work.
If you’re dealing with issues like depression or anxiety, which most of us are if we were self-medicating with booze, this is one way to naturally feel better.
Exercise also has the following advantages:
Improved memory and reasoning. Endorphins improve concentration and mental sharpness. They help keep your brain “fresh” by stimulating the formation of new brain cells.
Self-esteem has improved. Regular exercise improves sentiments of self-worth in addition to making you look better.
Improved sleep. Exercise helps to regulate your sleep patterns, which is especially beneficial for people in recovery who are having insomnia.
More power. Every time you raise your heart rate, you provide your body with a much-needed energy boost, allowing you to naturally sustain greater energy levels throughout the day.
2. Exercise Aids in the Formation of Healthier Friendships
So many individuals in recovery I speak with say the same thing. They have the impression that they don’t have any pals. They avoid social situations to avoid being enticed to drink. Perhaps they’ve had a falling out with their old drinking companions.
Whether we like it or not, humans are social creatures, and loneliness is a major part in what leads people to relapse.
Where do we go to make new sober friends?
Joining a gym or beginning a new programme (such as CrossFit or yoga) is a great opportunity to get out of the home and meet new people while also doing something beneficial for yourself. You’ll eventually recognise the regulars in your class and build friendships with those who live a lifestyle more conducive to your sobriety goals.
3. Exercise Can Help You Deal With Difficult Situations
I used to be a teacher who worked under incredibly stressful conditions. I was newlywed and living in a foreign country, alternating between overstimulation and terrible culture shock.
My entire life felt like a never-ending pendulum swing.
As a result, I drank.
I drank a lot before it, but especially then. I coped with my life by using alcohol and cigarettes. In fact, I had no notion (or belief) that I would be able to do any of it without my trusty crutches.
Someone cut me off in traffic (which happens all the time here)? When I come home, I’ll smoke. Is it normal for me to come home from work feeling like I’ve been struck by a Mac truck? I’m going to smoke and drink till I pass out.
Every single day.
Trying to navigate my emotions without drink or cigarettes seemed a lot like losing my mother in a busy store at first. It was paralysing, causing worry, and leaving me feeling helpless.
I had to relearn how to function again.
Exercise allows you to channel that energy. Instead of downing a half-liter of alcohol, take up some dumbbells or a jump rope and work it out.
4. Exercise Provides You With Something To Do
I can’t tell you how many times I gave up trying to quit smoking or drinking (or both) because I was bored.
I’d occasionally find something fascinating on Netflix to help me get through a few hard days. However, this is only a temporary solution. You can’t drink your way out of a problem.
Because of my regular drinking, I was continuously destroying bridges – a social arsonist, if you will.
That was frequently the impetus for my attempts to quit.
My buddies didn’t want to be near me. My romantic relationships had been damaged by me. Outside of work, I had nothing to do and no genuine identity.
And I despised my job, so picture basing your entire identity on something like that.
Exercise occupies time, and on some days, that’s all you need to get from one morning to the next without drinking. It’s something beneficial to your health.
5. Exercise Is Good for Your Brain
We often make fun of destroying some additional brain cells after a night of heavy drinking, but we’re not far off. Our brains are harmed by alcohol.
Much of the damage can be repaired with adequate intervention, such as regular exercise.
The grey and white matter that has been diminishing as a result of your nightly rounds of beers at the pub will begin to rise. Dopamine receptors that were shut down in response to a rush of increased dopamine from alcohol will reopen.
Exercise has the ability to “reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells,” according to Harvard Medical School.
That’s fantastic news for the newly sober and foggy-eyed among us. If you’re feeling out of sorts, you’ll regain your mental abilities with time, a little effort, and ongoing abstinence from alcohol.
So, if you’re serious about being sober, think about including exercise into your daily regimen. It’s not a panacea, but it can be a great starting point—a foundation on which to construct your new, sober life.Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest