Daily morning exercises, weekly gym nights and YMCA memberships are now being offered at Bridge Street Mission’s Sober Living Center.
Tuesday nights will now be basketball and exercise night at the Salvation Army gym. As part of an initiative to encourage physical fitness, our exercise program will consist of morning calisthenics led by one of our residents, these weekly trips to the Salavation Army gym, and a free month membership at the YMCA.
Why, in light of all their other needs, is this a priority? Our hope is that these healthy activities will replace negative habits. Whenever we remove something from our lives, like addiction or other bad habits, it is important to replace them with something good, so there is no room for those bad habits to come back. We put off the old and put on the new.
“in reference to your former way of life, you are to rid yourselves of the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you are to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
Exercise can be one of these new habits. In addition, there is ample evidence that physical activity is helpful to overcoming addiction. Lin and Aaron Sternlicht of Family Addiction Specialists in New York City explain the benefits of exercise to overcoming addiction in this way…
“Physical activity triggers a biological cascade of occurrences that results in many physical and mental health benefits. Research suggests that exercise is an effective treatment for mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, and can serve as a fundamental component to one’s recovery from addiction. Studies show that individuals who engage in a fitness routine live happier and healthier lives. Furthermore, experts in the field of addiction recovery and mental health believe that fitness is critical to living an addiction-free lifestyle and improving mental health.
Exercise can serve as a natural high, and not only make you feel good, but be good for you. Fitness allows individuals to experience a natural high without being on a mind or mood altering illicit substance. Most people are aware that exercise can produce “feel good” chemicals in the brain called endorphins. What some don’t know is that exercise, especially low-intensity exercise sustained over time, helps nerve cells grow and make new connections, subsequently improving brain functioning and helping individuals to feel better.”