Working Out in Recovery

My special birthday Dulce de Leche in the Mexican Pavilion

My special birthday Dulce de Leche in the Mexican Pavilion

For many people with eating disorders, working out becomes a symptom. You might run for hours or refuse to ever sit down. Perhaps it is biking or swimming or dancing. Over exercise comes in many forms, just like eating disorders.

However, during recovery, adding in some form of exercise is a good idea. This can help one’s mood, energy, and overall health.

Still, exercise can be a tricky component to recovery. I finally worked out today for the first time in many months. Was it super intense? No, but that is probably good. I only ran about 1.5 miles but allowed myself plenty of time (a bit under 20 minutes) to do so. Sounds wimpy probably, yet I was proud of myself. This is a first for me.

So, how can you exercise healthily and wisely in recovery? Here are a few tips:

  1. Start small. Do not push yourself to do something big or huge at first. Just do a mile or 15 minutes of running or even walking to get started.
  2. Have inspirational music on that relates to your recovery. Keep that in your mind.
  3. Eliminate anything unhealthy from your past if you over exercised. This includes types of exercise, outfits, music, etc.
  4. Eat before and after. Do not forget to fuel yourself.
  5. Be consistent. Try to do this daily or at least multiple times a week. Do not think that just once in a while is enough. Push yourself to do this more frequently.

Overall, exercise can be triggering and even a symptom of an eating disorder. However, it is also a great release for anxiety, stress, anger, and much more as well as very healthy in moderation. Hopefully this be helpful to those of you considering whether to exercise again or not. It took me a long time (several years), but now I am ready to make this a regular habit.

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