In my previous blog, I discussed the role of exercise as an important component of a comprehensive treatment strategy for all addictive disorders. But like they say in a popular auto insurance TV ad campaign, “everybody knows that.” But do you know which type of exercise is best? With so many types and forms of exercise to choose, which one stands out above the others? Running, walking, swimming, biking, dancing, weightlifting, yoga, sports participation, circuit training—how to choose?
Believe it or not, there is one best form of exercise. The answer is profound in its simplicity.
Before beginning any regular exercise program, make sure to discuss your plan with your physician. Make sure your heart, muscles, and joints are ready to take the plunge. Keep in mind the first thing every physician is told, “first do no harm.” Factors such as your age, level of physical conditioning, and overall health will help determine what is best for you.
The fundamental component of every exercise program is getting your baseline heart rate elevated, and keeping it up, for at least 20 minutes at least three times per week. More is better, but listen to your body and your doctor as you increase your workouts. Pushing through acute chest pain can be very dangerous, as is biking without a helmet. Always keep in mind, safety first.
So which form of exercise wins the gold medal? Drumroll….
The one you enjoy the most!
If you hate to run, don’t try running. The ultimate key to success will be initiating a program, and sticking with it. The more you enjoy it, the fewer the excuses to not work out today.
So enjoy individually working out, while others enjoy a group activity with a stronger social component. Both are perfectly fine, it’s what fits you best.
For individuals struggling with addictive disorders, the biological, psychological, and social benefits of engaging in enjoyable regular exercise are hard to beat.
Be healthy, be happy, be fit, and stay sober.