One of the reasons runners cite as to why they run long distances is a phenomenon called ‘runner’s high.’ This is a feeling of euphoria one experiences while running, particularly marathons or ultramarathons of longer than 26.2 miles. The endorphins released when a person runs or gets the blood pumping in an athletic way can cause ‘feel good’ hormones to surge through the body and lessen some of the fatigue, pain, and tiredness. Running has many great benefits for someone in recovery from addiction.
Benefits of Running in Recovery
Running is good for the body. It helps focus the mind, exercise the body, and can be a solitary or group activity. Research suggests 30 minutes of exercise is healthy for everyone and running, in particular, gets the heart pumping, relieves stress, and builds confidence over time. It is a challenging sport which takes time and endurance to maintain. Much like fighting an addiction, it can take a lifetime to master.
Eminem, a popular rapper, claims he ran 17 miles a day on a treadmill to beat his addiction. It is easy, however, to replace one addiction for another. A healthy outlook on running is needed. Find a partner to train with and be prepared to spend anywhere from 60-90 minutes exercising several days per week to run a marathon. It depends on the goal, but there are running plans and groups out there to help new runners jump into the fold.
For someone in recovery, ultrarunning or other extreme sports can be just as addictive as the substance used. It is a great aid in recovery, but should not become a replacement. Sobriety is a minute by minute, day by day, experience. To maintain sobriety, as well as a good running pace, it is important to train the mind and body with mindfulness exercises, weight training, proper nutrition, and rest. The average person needs between 2,000-3,000 calories a day but, when exercising for long periods, it is possible to burn several hundred or more. Replace these burned calories with healthy fats, proteins, and carbs and be sure to hydrate with lots of water and electrolytes. An important part of running is also stretching, warming up, and cooling down from start to finish. This will minimize risk of injury.
Overall, the goal is to have fun. Maintain a positive outlook. Just like in sobriety, it will seem daunting at first to lace up a pair of running shoes and hit the trail. Find a running partner who will challenge and focus your energy toward positive thinking. Remember, running a race is about the journey, not the end. So it is with addictions and living a life of sobriety. Mind each step and enjoy the run.
If you’re struggling with addiction and need help getting clean, call us at Treatment Now for a free consultation to learn about your options.
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