The Benefits of Exercise for Mental Health and Recovery

Addiction and mental health issues can have a crippling effect on the lives they touch. Often, people who struggle with mental health issues can fall prey to addiction, or vice-versa. Therapy, centers for rehabilitation, or spiritual institutions are strong foundations of relief for those who suffer from mental health problems or substance abuse; however, their focus on only the mental aspect of recovery may leave patients wanting more.

Not every individual has the same vice as another, and by that same token, not everyone deals with their issues in the same way. Whenever full-scale recovery from harmful habits is in order, it is important to notice change in two areas: the mind and the body. Exercise is often viewed as a method to maintain aesthetics of the body, but keeping an active lifestyle can provide relief from common mental hiccups as well as distance yourself from destructive habits. In effect, providing yourself with a strong body can, in turn, strengthen your mental well-being.

Some of the best activities to supplement recovery include cardio training, balance, and mental health exercises. If you are looking for a change in your recovery process, try implementing these activities into your daily life


Millions of people turn to yoga because of its balance-based, introspective take on working out. Many routines involve heavy stretching as well as exceeding the diminutive range of motion the human body falls into during daily monotonous routines. Yoga is a strong candidate for those seeking mental clarity because it requires focus. Its base of stability and flexibility make it a sublime individual workout that forces you to look inward and control your mind’s reaction to bodily stress. Many have said that yoga helped them in finding inner peace because it encourages them to find balance by focusing on themselves. This type of exercise also increases your body’s control over angst, which has a tendency to allow people to fall into relapse.

During the process of recovery, social situations can provide a sense of community and relationship, but sometimes, plans just don’t match up. Your daily exercise regimen can be the perfect place to bond with man’s best friend. The typical benefits of yoga (or many other activities) can be applied within this form, but is simply multiplied by two. In addition, if you have a new dog, this is a great opportunity to start a new routine together that can be enjoyable for you both.


Swimming is one of the most effective forms of cardiovascular exercise. With less joint stress than running or biking, swimming is perfect for individuals who would prefer to go at their own pace. A quick dip can also provide a soothing feeling not many associate with exercise.

Even without the implementation of exercise, floating in water creates a form of hydrotherapy that is felt when the body is submerged in water. The relaxation you may encounter from a quick 10- to 30-minute swim can easily decrease daily stress from the mind.


Far less exerting than the previous two activities, meditation can be practiced whenever and wherever it is needed. Plus, setting up a meditation room is easy simple, and enables you to begin and end your day with positive thoughts and relaxation. The Swiss Army Knife of positive thinking, meditation allows a hectic mind to fall backwards into perspective. Oftentimes, our thoughts and tasks drive us to a convoluted state of understanding. Once numerous thoughts (good or bad) overtake the mind, it becomes easy to fall into temptations or unproductive attitudes.

Taking brief moments to stop and breathe throughout the day allows the mind to remain clear. There is no single area where meditation should be included, just as there is no single area where bad things happen during the day. Bad events, like good events, occur randomly.
Thus, meditation should always be a solid aid to maintain a beneficial outlook in moving forward.

Exercise is a beneficial way to enable strong and lasting recovery from life’s mental ailments, as your body works in unison with your mind. An active lifestyle will help you keep your mind in check and your recovery process running smoothly.

Rufus Carter
Rufus Carter has been in recovery for 9 years. For the past 6 years, he has worked as a personal trainer. His website,, organizes resources for anyone in recovery who is trying to choose their career path. With the site, he hopes to help those in recovery create fulfilling and lucrative careers.
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