Exercise Options For Those In Recovery & Anyone Else Who Hates Gyms!

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Exercise is a life-altering addition to any treatment program. Exercise provides a “natural high” by flooding the body with endorphins. Endorphins bind to opioid receptors and provide pain relief. Drugs can create endorphins, but so can exercise, with the added benefit of a long and healthy life.

Activities for the Recovering Addict

But what if you hate the gym, and your idea of exercise is chasing a WiFi signal around a spotty building? Fear not. You can still increase your levels of endorphins while having a great time.

The trick is to find an activity that keeps you motivated. There’s an exercise for everyone out there. Consider these “feel good” physical activities to boost endorphins and get those positive brain chemicals working.

1. Ride a Bike

Biking doesn’t have to be a grueling spin class. You can hop on a bicycle and explore the neighborhood and outdoors like a kid, sans training wheels.

2. Stand-Up Paddle-Boarding

If you are lucky enough to live by the ocean, a lake or river, paddle-boarding can get your endorphins flowing without feeling like you're actually exercising. It will require some practice and balance, and you may fall at first. I did. But just laugh it off, because laughter also releases endorphins.

3. Climb a Rock

Long before there were indoor walls, there were just outdoor boulders and mountains to scale. Climbing still makes for a fun athletic activity today. With a simple internet search, you can locate dozens of outside rock-climbing beginner classes right in your city that will challenge your fitness and skill. Most of all, when it’s all over, you’ll feel so good that you’ll want to do it again and again.

4. Have a Ball

It helps to include a social component into exercise throughout rehabilitation. Basketball, bowling, softball, soccer, and other group sports are all examples of exercise that require interactions with others. Group exercise has some distinct advantages by allowing the addict to form new relationships that don’t revolve around drinking or using drugs. The shared effort of group exercise may give endorphin levels an extra boost and deliver benefits to people with substance abuse. In fact, in one study, crews who rowed together had an increased rush of these feel-good hormones and thus a higher pain-threshold than those who rowed alone.