Good Reasons to Run in Addiction Recovery
Running is the most popular fitness activity around. It can bring many benefits to people’s lives without requiring that much effort or preparation. It is an activity that can be done almost anywhere, and it does not require any special equipment. It can be a wonderful hobby for people to take up in recovery. It not only promotes physical well-being but can also greatly improve mental health.
Benefits of Running
Running can be a highly rewarding type of exercise. These are some of the [benefits of running](http://www.therunnersguide.com/benefitsofrunning/) include:
* People do not need to run a great deal in order to gain some great health benefits. Just 20 minutes four times a week can be enough to greatly [improve cardiovascular health](http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/107/1/e2.full). This form of exercise is great for making the heart stronger. It benefits the respiratory system, too.
* This form of exercise is good for strengthening bones. Those individuals who live a sedentary existence tend to develop weaker bones as they age. This places them at higher risk to develop conditions such as [osteoporosis](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001400/). They will also be more likely to suffer injuries. When people run, they are essentially forcing their bones to remain strong.
* Running is probably the easiest way for people to get physically in shape. There is not a great deal that needs to be learnt in order for people to be able to run. Later people can learn about the more technical aspects of training, but they do not have to do this in order to enjoy the activity. They will also not be required to buy expensive equipment. All they really need is a good pair of running shoes.
* Running slows down the aging process.
* It is a wonderful way to [relieves stress](http://alcoholrehab.com/alcohol-rehab/stress-and-substance-abuse/). When people have had a bad day, they can just go for a run, and they will usually feel much better afterwards.
* Those people who regularly run notice that it can greatly improve their sense of well-being. It can decrease symptoms of depression and generally improve mental health.
* This form of exercise works well for people who are trying to control their weight. It burns extra calories. It also increases metabolism, so that more calories are being burnt even after the individual has stopped the activity.
* Running can [increase self-esteem](http://alcoholrehab.com/alcohol-rehab/addiction-and-low-self-esteem/). The individual feels more in control of their body, and this increases their self-confidence. Those who finish a challenging run enjoy a great sense of accomplishment, and this increases their self-confidence.
* This is a great activity for meeting other people. Most towns will have running clubs, and there are now also online communities where experienced runners will offer tips and advice. Those who decide to enter some amateur races will find that this is also provides a great opportunity to socialize. There is a great sense of camaraderie among runners.
Benefits of Running for People in Recovery
Those individuals who are recovering from an addiction often find that running can be a wonderful activity to take up. Here are just some of the potential benefits:
* When people first become sober, they will have plenty of free time on their hands. A regular running practice makes productive use these extra hours.
* It increases mental strength, which is a great asset to have in life. There are many challenges to face in recovery, and being mentally strong will help people overcome these tests.
* An alcohol or drug addiction can have a devastating effect on their mind and body. An activity like running can undo a great deal of this damage. Taking care of personal health is a key factor in successful sobriety. If people are in poor health physically they will find life harder to manage. Nobody gets sober to feel bad so it just makes sense to put effort into staying healthy.
* Becoming sober often means giving up on a social network. It is dangerous for people in recovery to continue having relations with those who are still drinking or using. An activity like running can allow people to meet more health-conscious friends.
* One of the reasons why people fall into addiction is that they suffer from self-esteem issues. When they become sober, these self-esteem issues can continue to be a problem for them. Running can help people feel better about themselves. It provides the opportunity for them to challenge themselves and win. This is one way that self-esteem is increased.
* Simply speaking, people run because it makes them happy. Those individuals who recover from an addiction deserve plenty of happiness in their life, and this is one way to make that happen.
The Dangers of Exercise Addiction
One of the fallacies involved with addictive behavior is that if a bit of something is good, then more of it must be better. This is certainly not the type of attitude that people want to take with running, because it can lead to huge problems. It is suggested that certain people have an addictive personality, and it is these characteristics that make them prone to addictive behavior. This means that when people become sober they may begin using something like exercise as an [addiction substitute](http://alcoholrehab.com/alcohol-rehab/substituting-addiction/). The individual can also use an obsession with exercise as way of dealing with the real challenges of recovery. This is a dangerous game for them to play because it can lead to relapse.
The dangers of an exercise addiction include:
* [Overtraining syndrome](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overtraining) can lead to depression, injury, chronic tiredness, insomnia and increased risk of picking up infections.
* This can be part of the relapse process and the ultimate destination will be right back in the midst of the original addiction.
* It can lead to eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. This can occur when people become too obsessed with their bodies.
* It can interfere with the individual’s ability to perform well at work. They might miss days because of sickness and injuries brought on by excessive exercise.
* Exercise can work like other drugs. The individual develops a tolerance for it, and this means that they need more in order to get the same results.
* It causes people to neglect other important aspects of their life such as their family and career. Real happiness in life involves a balance between different components. When the focus in life is on just one fact it always leads to suffering.
Starting to Run in Recovery
The decision to start running in recovery can be a great choice. In order to get the benefits it is suggested that people consider a number of things including:
* The first thing that people need to do before beginning any type of strenuous exercise is to speak to their physician. This is particular important for people who have not exercised in a long time or have any type of medical complain.
* A common mistake that people make when they take up running is that they push themselves too hard in the beginning. This means that they pick up injuries or just become disheartened. It is best if people start off with an easy challenge and build from there. There are [running plans available for couch potatoes](http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml).
* Finding a running partner or joining a club can increase commitment to this activity. It also turns exercise into an opportunity to socialize. It is best to avoid running with somebody who is too competitive when starting out. A new runner will want somebody who will run at their pace.
* It is not necessary to spend too much money on equipment before beginning a running regime. One purchase that is usually necessary is a good pair of running shoes. It is recommended that people visit a popular sports shop. There they will have running machines that can measure the individual’s movements to ensure that they get the best possible shoe. Running with inappropriate footwear can lead to injuries and take much of the enjoyment out of the activity.
* In order to benefit from running, it is necessary to have a regular routine, preferably three or four times a week. Only running when the mood strikes prevent a person from progressing and also increases the likelihood of injury.
* Some people run best in the early mornings, while others prefer afternoons and evenings. In the beginning, it is a good idea to experiment with different times of day to see which is the most suitable.
* If people are trying to lose weight, they should also look at their diet. Exercise alone might not be enough to cure obesity, but it is good for maintaining a healthy weight.
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