Swimming for Alcohol & Substance Abuse Recovery
Swimming & Recovery
How Swimming Can Help You Stay Sober
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself in recovery. Exercise strengthens willpower, improves your mood, and makes you healthier.
There are a number of reasons swimming is especially good exercise for people in recovery.
• Addiction takes its toll on the body! People whose mobility is limited, whether from illness, disease, or injury, can still swim to some extent. Swimming is low impact, so you can still get a challenging full-body workout in the pool with much less stress on your body.
• Swimming can help strengthen your lungs and heart and help you breathe better. If you’ve smoked cigarettes or other substances, your lungs will be damaged to some degree. They will start to heal relatively quickly; usually within a few weeks of quitting.
• Swimming is good for managing anxiety. While most vigorous exercise is good for anxiety, swimming forces you to actively learn to control your anxiety. Putting your face in water while strenuously exercising is not the most comfortable thing for most people to do.
Swimming is an opportunity to learn to manage that anxiety in safe conditions so you gradually learn to feel more comfortable with anxiety.
• Swimming is more meditative than many forms of exercise. While most people can walk or run without thinking too much about how to do it, swimming requires a lot of attention to technique. The extra concentration swimming requires often leads to flow states, which make you feel happier.
You might want to consider taking swimming lessons to get you started, since there’s a bit more to swimming than flapping your arms in the water.
As with all exercise, start slow and build gradually.
Give it a try
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