It’s no secret that we are called to care for our physical bodies since they are a temple where our spirit and God’s presence live. After all, a vital role in addiction recovery is detoxing your body of what it doesn’t need to fill it with the wholesome, healthy things that it truly craves.
If we are told to care for our physical bodies, then it only makes sense that physical exercise becomes a priority. Unfortunately, many people assume that exercise is for those who have already mastered their physique. Weightlifting is only for the professional weightlifter. Running is strictly for the marathon racer. Even more negative assumptions pile up:
I’ll have to wake up at 5 am every morning.
I don’t have the money for expensive running shoes, let alone a gym membership.
I’ll never figure out how to use all of the fancy weight machines.
What if exercising is simpler than that, though? What if you are allowed to start small and work your way up to more extraordinary physical feats? What if caring for your physical body only takes an hour or so of your day? What if you don’t need fancy gym clothes and an even fancier gym to get the job done? Truth be told, you only need an hour. You only need to start small to begin this physical health journey.
Take a look at five outdoor activities (some a little obvious, some more than unexpected) that start small, but enrich your addiction recovery:
#1: Washing And Waxing Your Car
This might seem like a joke, but the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute considers 45-60 minutes of outdoor car care as a medium-intensity workout — not a low-intensity workout, but a more physically aggressive exercise.
Think about it: climbing up and down and around your car or truck builds cardio, while heavy scrubbing and waxing engage your arms, shoulders, and back.
Meanwhile, washing and waxing your car serves as a mentally engaging task. It requires attention to detail — noticing dried soap spots, spotting grime inside tire rims, and ensuring that wax is evenly spread. Not only are your body and brain engaged in healthy activity, but you saved yourself a few bucks by handling your own car detail. It’s a win-win-win.
#2: Taking A Walk Around The Neighborhood (Or Park, Beach, Wherever)
We all know that getting outside and moving our bodies engages dopamine and helps clear some headspace. But for beginners who still have a competitive streak, activities like neighborhood walks and walks around the park leave plenty of room for endurance training.
Often, when we think of endurance training, our brains jump to marathon runners and Olympic athletes, but endurance stems from strengthening your heart, which is a muscle. The longer you walk, the brisker you walk, the more the muscle is strengthened, and as the muscle grows stronger, other systems in your body follow suit.
If you’re a time person, start by walking 15 minutes a day. Build up to 30 minutes, then 45 minutes, as the weeks go by. Set measurable yet achievable goals for yourself that provide accountability.
#3: Swimming Laps Around The Pool
An article on the website, Lifehack, shares vital yet often unknown benefits of swimming:
Not all pools are outdoors, but swimming laps, whether at your local community center or even in the ocean, have proven to not only maximize the calories you burn but to reduce stress levels and depression, as well.
Mental health is crucial throughout the recovery process, and swimming is great for providing your physical body with extra bonuses like growing bone mass and building back muscle. Swimming can also provide your brain with space it needs to process feelings, experiences, and tasks ahead.
Furthermore, for those looking for healthier skincare, saltwater, whether from the ocean or a salt pool, has proven to enhance the skin.
#4: Stretching, Stretching, And Stretching
While stretching doesn’t seem like an “exercise,” it’s vital to ensure muscle flexibility and, therefore, muscle growth. Muscles only grow after the tips of their fibers create micro-tears, but those fibers must be warmed up and prepared to tear and grow.
Even before stretching, Harvard Health reports that you must do a mini warm-up. It could be as simple as walking a lap or jogging in place for a few minutes. Heating up the fibers at the end of your muscles preps them for stretching, and stretching protects the muscles from growing stiff and rigid, making them vulnerable to getting hurt during more high-intensity workouts.
If stretching needs its own warm-up, then count it as a vital part of your physical health!
#5: Following Circuits
Circuit training is typically a high-intensity exercise routine in which you prepare 8-10 different exercises, like jump roping, burpees, mountain climbers, etc., and perform each mini exercise for 45 seconds, take a 30-second break, then go on to the next mini exercise.
Circuit training is meant to spike the heart rate and keep it relatively high to build endurance — however, circuit training can start with less complicated exercises and more flexible times. Instead of speed jump roping, create a slower pace. Instead of a 30-second break in between, take a 45-second break.
Circuits are easy to do outdoors with basic equipment found around the house, but the high-intensity, Olympic-feel doesn’t have to be where you start. Regardless, circuit training creates a healthy, rhythmic, routine workout.
Creating healthy physical habits is crucial for everyone, whether they face addiction recovery or not. Adding these simple steps can create a healthier space for your mind, body, and even your spirit to find healing from addiction. Beginning a workout regimen can be intimidating and even exhausting at times, but there is no shame in starting small and working your way to more intense exercise opportunities. Regardless of where you start, you are headed in the right direction to establish healthy rhythms and routines that will not only reflect a physical workout but healthy mental practices, spiritual practices, and practices that directly aid in addiction recovery. Get creative, and reach out to your Renaissance Ranch to help you with your overall mental, physical, and spiritual health as you seek addiction recovery. To learn more about physical exercise, as well as our available resources for addiction recovery, please contact us today at (801) 308-8898.