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How to Make Your Rest Days More Productive With Active Recovery

by Melanie Peterson

Your experience with addiction probably made you completely neglect your health and well-being. But now that you are down the path of recovery, you no longer have to ignore the demands and needs of your body. One of the main aspects of addiction recovery is maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of exercise and a good diet. Exercise helps in giving you the serotonin boost you need to stay active and productive and enables you to fight off your urges to do drugs. For this reason, many addiction counselors recommend people to exercise a couple of times a day.

However, you may get tempted to push yourself to do intense workouts all days of the week. That is not a good option for your body, which is already weak and busy detoxifying your body. Hence, you must rest a few days between the days you intensely workout and recover your body during this time. For the days when you’re having too many jitters to relax but your body needs some rest from intense workouts, opt for active recovery.

What is Active Recovery?

Active recovery, also known as active rest, is when you do any activity that is less intense than your workout. It can be anything from a leisurely job, light stretching, yoga, or walking around the block. The lower intensity of this active recovery helps your body increase blood flow and recover your muscles and tissues worn out from intense workouts. Hence, active recovery workouts aren’t meant to take long, and you can easily incorporate them into your daily routine. For example, if you are a weekly outpatient at any addiction recovery center such as The Palm Beach Institute, you can opt to walk back from your sessions. Hence, walking a few miles will help take your mind off of all the things that stress you and help in active recovery on those off days. Apart from that, let us discuss some activities that can help make your rest days more productive.

Active Recovery Activities

1. Swimming 

Swimming happens to be a great hobby and a low-impact workout that isn’t tough on your muscles and joints. And there are several reasons why swimming is especially good for people in recovery. For starters, this exercise is perfect for people who have limited mobility. Moreover, this full-body workout puts less stress on the body. In addition, swimming is a great exercise to build lung capacity.

In many cases, using substances or smoking can damage the lungs to a certain degree. Hence, shortness of breath and other lung-related diseases are common occurrences for people in recovery. But swimming helps strengthen the lungs and your heart, and soon you will notice that you’re breathing a lot better. Last but not least, swimming happens to be a meditative exercise, which means that it is great to manage anxiety and concentrate your energy on the activity at hand.

2. Walking or jogging 

Aerobic exercises like jogging, walking, or running are ideal active recovery exercises and reduce substance cravings in individuals undergoing addiction recovery. Some research also suggests that running and jogging also help repair drug damages on different parts of the brain. Hence, a person’s physical activity and response to drugs are interconnected.

When you go for a jog or a run, it gives you an immediate boost of noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine, which helps reduce your cravings. Apart from that, it helps in enhancing the body’s blood flow with aids in muscle recovery. Hence, whenever you get cravings, go for a 10-minute brisk walk. It will help reduce the soreness and stiffness from your intense workout and keep the cravings away.

3. Cycling 

Cycling leisurely is a great way to get your body in active recovery. Slow cycling doesn’t put too much pressure on your joints, and out can cycle indoors with a stationary bike or outdoors. However, we recommend outdoor cycling as a means of transport when running errands. Not only will it get you moving, but it will also fulfill a purpose. Moreover, cycling will also give you something else to focus on instead of your current state of addiction recovery and help overcome cravings. In addition to that, cycling on your off days also urges you to have a healthier lifestyle. And before you know it, sobriety won’t be as hard anymore.

4. Yoga

Yoga is another activity that is beneficial for active recovery. On the one hand, it helps stretch your sore muscles and increases your body’s flexibility. In addition to that, it also reduces inflammation and stress from your muscles.

On the other hand, yoga is a healthy alternative activity that can help you stay sober. There are likely to be few to no triggers for someone struggling with addiction during a yoga session. Moreover, it promotes spiritual growth and physical fitness, and from a holistic care point of view, it is ideal for a person in recovery.


All of these active recovery exercises are typically considered safe. They will help your body heal quickly and divert your mind from addictive behavior. In addition to that, they also increase your urge to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, if you are in pain, then avoid active recovery and see a doctor immediately.

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