Updated: Jun 29
Breaking the cycle of addiction is all about changing your behavior. This means learning to
recognize unhealthy behaviors in your life, trying to understand what triggers them, and,
ultimately, stopping those behaviors for good. To overcome an addiction, however, it’s usually
not enough to simply cut out unhealthy habits. The key to long-term success is replacing those
negative behaviors with new, positive actions.
Physical fitness is a great way to achieve this. Exercise offers a myriad of healthy replacements for unwanted behaviors and brings many other benefits that can help with your recovery.
To help you learn more, Jason Lewis, personal trainer, writer and caretaker, shares the following advice.
Identifying the Stages of Behavior Change
According to a widely acclaimed theory, most people go through different stages when trying to
change their behaviors. Experience Life lists the key stages of change as:
• Precontemplation: You don’t see a problem and aren’t trying to change
• Contemplation: You begin to realize that you might need to change your behavior
• Preparation: You commit to making a change and start taking steps to plan how you will
accomplish the change
• Action: You put your plans into action to implement the change
• Maintenance: You keep up your changed behavior in the long term
People don’t necessarily move through the stages in order, and it’s not unusual for someone to
skip around, repeat a stage, or be in two stages at the same time.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Maintaining sobriety can be a challenge. Luckily, there are plenty of resources out there to help,
including free rehab centers that incorporate an array of treatment methods to help you break
free from addiction. Before choosing a center, though, take some time to research the types of
treatment being offered, not to mention reviews from past clients. If you're concerned about
costs, look for facilities that offer payment plans and accept multiple types of health insurance.
Understanding How Exercise Helps with Recovery
Exercise is especially helpful during the preparation and action stages of behavior change.
During the preparation stage, actively plan to replace unhealthy behaviors with fitness-related
activities. Mayo Clinic suggests plotting out a new workout routine. You’re less likely to relapse if
you have a plan for what to do when cravings strike.
In the action stage, keep a list of fitness activities that you can turn to as needed. Make sure to
include some options that are available to you at any time, such as running, riding a bike, or
jumping rope, so you don’t falter just because the gym is closed.
Incorporating Self-Care Into Your Routine
Many of the same things that are important for maintaining a fitness routine are also key for
maintaining long-term behavior change. Self-care is a great example: To reach your fitness
goals, in addition to exercising, you also need to eat healthy foods, stay hydrated, and get
plenty of rest. You can also include nutritional supplements like pre-workout and protein
powders to ramp up your efforts.
Maintaining behavior change is also necessary for reaching your recovery goals. Avoid triggers
that can sabotage your progress. During the preparation stage, take the time to thoroughly
clean and declutter your home. Address any problems or issues that could potentially cause you
stress during the action stage, from a creaky hinge to a stack of unpaid bills. A tidy, organized
home atmosphere leads to less anxiety and better sleep, both of which are very important
aspects of the recovery process.
Using Technology to Enhance Your Progress
Advancing toward your fitness goals will give you confidence and a sense of achievement,
which can help you stay on track to reach your recovery goals. Try using a fitness tracker,
workout app, or smartwatch to keep up with your progress. While a smartwatch isn’t required to
reach your goals, it can be an excellent tool for tracking activity and keeping you safe while you
work out. A smartwatch also offers other functions to help you stay connected to work and
business when you’re focusing on your fitness routine. Maximize your smartwatch benefits with
a screen protector or new watchband.
Overcoming addiction isn’t easy, but it’s also not impossible. Take advantage of the many
benefits of exercise to help you break the cycle and change your life for good!
Regardless of your age or fitness level, Beyond the Push Fitness can help you feel your
best! Reach out today to get started.
For a list of drug addiction resources visit https://www.lawfirm.com/dangerous-drugs/addiction/
About the Author
"Jason Lewis is a personal trainer, who specializes in helping senior citizens stay fit and healthy. He is also the primary caretaker of his mom after her surgery. He writes for Strong Well and enjoys creating fitness programs that cater to the needs of people over 65."