Physical Fitness and Recovery

Topics related to AA Meetings - and alcohol addiction recovery
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Physical Fitness and Recovery

Postby Tim » Thu Oct 12, 2006 4:42 pm

In my own recovery, I have found exercise to be a significant component. Yes, 12-step recovery is a spiritual program, but a human being is a body, mind and spirit, and these interact in mysterious and powerful ways.

In a recent feature article in the New York Times, physical fitness was emphasized as helpful in staying sober. Butler Hospital in Providence RI recently completed a study that tracked 44 alcoholics and found that outpatient treatment and 12 weeks of aerobic conditioning increased the likelihood of their remaining sober.

Research has shown that aerobic exercise improves symptoms of mild to moderate depression, a common risk factor for relapse. A clinical psychologist calls physical activity the ‘perfect antidote to addiction.â€

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Postby anniemac » Thu Oct 12, 2006 6:52 pm

Oh, yes! I agree totally. Exercise gets all those positive brain chemicals swirling around, and it also provides a release for any anger and stress I may be carrying. Not to mention the sense of feel-good accomplishment.

I work out at least 5 days a week, and my primary reason is for my mental health. My physical health and weight loss are truly secondary.

On a related note:

Early on, I heard the expression "move a muscle, change a thought." At first, I took it to mean that if I distract myself, the craving or self-pity or whatever I was feeling would go away by virtue of the distraction.

Then, one day I was having a craving. I made some phone calls. One woman said "think the drink through." Um, well, no offense, but if I could think the drink through at that point in my journey, why did I need AA? I had proven time and time again that I was incapable of thinking the drink through. As the BB says, at times we are unable to recall the horrors of our last drunk.

Another woman suggested that I take it one day at a time. Well, yeah, but I was only dealing with one day, and that day I wanted to drink! I didn't feel that helped me at all.

The third woman told me to scrub my kitchen floor. What?? She insisted - she said "move a muscle, change a thought....scrub your floor, jog in place, go for a bike anything to get those endorphins pumping!"

And it worked. I sweated that craving right out of me. Now, to me, "move a muscle change a thought" has a deeper meaning than I first thought.

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Postby Dallas » Fri Oct 13, 2006 3:27 am

Thanks to both of you for your great sharing!!!

Sums it up as.... "Yes. It really is a program of action!"

Add some structure and discipline to the action... and dynamic miracles begin to happen. We begin to recover... physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

It's the old "I can't think my way into right action... but I can act (taking actions) my way into right thinking."

Thanks again for your great shares! It works... it really does. :wink:


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Postby linda88805 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:59 pm

Wonderful post...

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Postby merckx » Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:21 am

Over the spring, summer, and fall I am out on the bike almost every day the weather permits riding anywhere from 12-40 miles a day at a rate of 17-19mph. I can tell the difference in my mood over the winter when I am not out exercising at that level. I think another reason is that 45 minutes to 2.5 hours on the bike every day gives me time to meditate and process my day.

I read a great article in Biking magazine a few months ago that talked about an amatuer rider who is working his way up to pro level who used riding to manage his ADD. The article said the key to using exercise to manage ADD was to participate in vigorous cardio exercise. Anything that gets you breathing hard and your heart rate up for over a half an hour.

Great post Tim! In addition we could add to the discussion diet. The more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats you get in the better off you are. Fast food and prepackaged food take a toll on how the body feels.

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Postby Toast » Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:33 am

Read an article about depression being caused by a lack of Seratonine in the brain. It went on to say that there are 3 ways in which the brain can manufacture this missing chemical.

1. Rigorous exercise.

2. Hysterical laughter

3. Take copious amounts of alcohol.

Just about sums me up :?

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Postby Leana H. » Sun Aug 14, 2011 3:59 am

Exercise is very important for me.

I was always active in working out (mainly jogging and long walks, mostly). But was very sporadic at it when I drank. Now I workout 5-6 times a week for 60-90 minutes (might add some Yoga or Pilates in after my run/walk sometimes).

It's part of my sober lifestyle these days and I love it. 8)

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Postby Toast » Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:56 am

Defo agree with the need to stay sharp by regularly exercising our bodies and our minds. My actions always change my moods and when the mood takes a dip i get off my ass and it soon goes the other way.

On the subjest of the serotonin levels in the brain i also read that the lower the serotonin the higher the emotional state of the individual. And like wise people with high serotonin levels feel less emotions that people with lower levels hence the latter group are more prone to suffer depression. 8)

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Postby cue » Sun Aug 14, 2011 3:41 pm

Have to agree with the above. I took up surfing a few years ago and it has become a big part of my recovery.

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Postby Camel » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:33 am

Just started working out again. I had stopped after the hip replacement in 2008. Used to be a big ol' boy, but now my chest has fallen to my waist. :oops: The good thing is muscles don't forget. I agree with Toast. I just feel better when I exercise. The toughest thing about exercise to me is moderation. I've hurt myself a time or two, but I'm gettin' better at it. I'm not 25 any more. I'm 60! As Bill W., said, we're all or nothing people. Hard to come back to the Farm when you've been to Paree! Progress, not perfection.


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