You know that exercise is good for you – good for the body, good for the soul – but did you know that it is good for your recovery as well? When you are in better shape, your body can fend off illness more easily, you feel more confident, and you have higher energy levels and therefore more energy to handle whatever stressors come your way without resorting to drug or alcohol use. Similarly, when you are working out regularly, you tend to metabolize food more efficiently, fall asleep more easily, and sleep more soundly. If you work out with friends in recovery, you are doing double duty and building your support network in recovery at the same time.
The good news is that you don’t have to start an intensive daily workout regimen that has you running or lifting weights for hours a day to gain the benefits of a little cardiovascular and/or weight-bearing workout. There are literally hundreds of things you can do to get moving and boost your recovery at the same time – for free or at very low cost.
Here are just a few easy and fun ways to get started:
- Play a dance game. Dance video games are available at every arcade, a number of community centers, and potentially in your own home, making it fun and competitive to keep up with fast-paced dance movements that are a great way to get exercise. Or, you could just dance. Put on your favorite music, with or without anyone else around, and dance for 10 minutes.
- Clean. Okay, this one isn’t fun necessarily, unless you are someone who enjoys cleaning in its own right, but it does burn calories and give you a workout. If you’re counting steps, you’ll certainly get to your daily goal by cleaning your home. If you are living in a room or a tiny place, really dig into the scouring of the hidden corners to get there.
- Go for a swim. The weather is finally starting to warm up, and that means it’s time to hit the water. Go to the lake, head to the pool, or visit the ocean. If swimming gets old, try another water sport that gets your heart rate up like kayaking, surfing, or paddle boarding.
- Help out. Outdoor projects also come with the warmer weather. From landscaping to building decks to walking dogs while people are out of town on vacation, there are a number of part-time jobs or volunteer opportunities that will allow you to give back, get a workout in, and maybe make a little extra money on the side as well.
- Do a workout. There are TV channels dedicated to exercise programming and YouTube channels that offer free workouts of all kinds. Try out tai chi in the privacy of your room or go for a kickboxing workout. Go old school and do a step workout from the 80s, or get creative and search for some unique workouts you have never heard of before. Poodle exercises with humans, anyone?
- Do any kind of workout for seven minutes. Search “7 minute” in the App Store and take your pick from the many varieties available. There are ab workouts, cardio workouts, and leg or arm workouts. There’s even one that is a favorite at The New York Times. Almost all use body weight exercises that you can do anywhere.
- Go hiking. If you live near the Everglades or another swamp with trails, great! Take advantage, explore wildlife, and get a great hike in. If you are closer to the beach, take your hike near the water and stay a little cooler. Or, if you prefer, take your hike a little more urban. Head to the mall or a downtown area. As long as you keep moving, you are getting exercise.
- Park farther away from the store. Walk or ride a bike instead. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Make a point every hour to take a walk around the block. Go the long way around instead of taking the shortcut. Little extra movements add up to a full workout.
How will you get a workout in each day and give your recovery a boost?