At Hope Rehab we view fitness as a level of physical well-being where you are able to get the most out of life. An important part of rebuilding life after addiction is to develop healthy habits in body and mind. At first, a fitness routine might seem hard to adopt while trying to stay clean & sober. There are no doubts, though, that exercise will become your Nr. 1 ally on your journey to recovery – and long after.
Don’t believe it? Science actually proves it: Numerous relevant studies have shown that in addition to counselling and support groups, a consistent exercise program will greatly enhance your capacity to stay clean & sober for the rest of your life. We don’t want to sugarcoat anything: Yes, it will be difficult and challenging at first. However, the benefits outweigh the costs by far.
Mobility issues: Hope is restricted as regards physically impaired or serious physical health issues. Thailand (a developing country) could be an inappropriate environment and the Hope facility is on a mountain side. We do not offer individual care for people living with a disability who require support for basic tasks. All people attending Hope need to live and physically function independently.
Our goal: Help you find at least one thing that you enjoy
That’s why we get up early to join one of the morning activities, e.g. a bike ride, workout session, Pilates, Yoga, or Tai Chi – the fitness program varies from day to day. In addition, you can sign up for one-on-one Muay Thai sessions or personal training in the afternoons. At least twice a week you can also join one of our team sports, e.g. basketball, soccer/football or pool volleyball. We try to put in as many different kinds of sport as possible to help you find at least one thing that you enjoy enough to continue it after your rehab treatment with us. (You can find more info on our extensive fitness program further down.)
Why exercise at all?
Exercise will not only provide you with a structure for your day – in rehab and afterwards – but also help you to feel comfortable in your own body again. It will help you to set goals and give you a reason to get up and out of the house. Once you do sports regularly, you’ll find it easier to focus on the present moment. That also means less time for negative thoughts and therefore less risk of relapse. To get the sweat flowing and those muscles moving on a regular basis will make you a happier, stronger and healthier person.
Damages done to your brain by alcohol & drugs can mostly be reversed
On top of all that, doing sports has a huge impact on your brain. The effects exercising has on the brain are so amazing that we dedicated them a whole section further down in this text. There we’ll explain what improvements you can expect and look forward to. For now, it’s enough to know that the damages done to your brain by alcohol & drugs can mostly be reversed through working out regularly.
Our bodies are designed for movement
Believe it or not: These are just some of the many benefits of implementing some kind of fitness routine into your life (see full list below). In short: Our bodies are designed for movement. Therefore, everyone benefits from exercise – regardless of age, sex, or physical ability.
What is Fitness?
The word ‘fitness’ can be difficult to pin down because it is used so subjectively in everyday speech. Some people associate physical fitness with being able to climb a flight of stairs while for others it is the ability to run a marathon. The most common definition of fitness is that it is the ability to perform daily tasks without excessive fatigue, but even this description sounds a bit vague. The way we view physical fitness here at Hope Rehab is a level of physical wellness where you are able to get the most out of life. This doesn’t have to be about running marathons or becoming a gym-rat. It is about getting and keeping your body at least in a fit enough shape, so you can comfortably accomplish the tasks you need to do each day.
Exercising has the potential to prevent diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer
Once you pick up exercising (again), you’ll start reaping the rewards of your efforts very soon. One of the first things you’ll notice is that you will have more energy. Likewise, moving around will become easier. There are also the not quite as tangible effects that working out has on your body: For one, your mental health will improve. Studies have also shown that regular moderate-to-vigorous physical exercise has the potential to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer.
These are the essential building blocks of physical fitness
So, what are essential building blocks of physical fitness and how can it be achieved? Well, there is cardiorespiratory endurance (short: cardio), muscle strength, muscle endurance, flexibility, and body composition (= what percentage of your body is fat, bones, muscles, water, etc.). To improve these components, you should try a combination of the following:
Choose from a range of activities like walking, running, swimming, biking, weight training, team sports, Yoga or Pilates and work out regularly
Ensure proper nutrition ? stick to a healthy diet
Get sufficient rest and sleep
Practice stress management and relaxation a go – e.g. with activities like Yoga, Meditation and Tai Chi
Exercise and the brain connection:
In his groundbreaking book ‘Spark’, bestselling author and renowned psychiatrist, John J. Ratey, exposes his groundbreaking and fascinating investigation into the transformative effects of exercise on the brain. His work has further confirmed that you can lift your mood, improve your memory, sharpen your concentration, and repair damaged neurons simply by working out a sweat and increasing your heart rate near 60-70 % of its maximum level.
You can rewire your brain through exercising
Our brain can be rewired for peak performances through regular aerobic exercises. Dr Ratey’s research and analyses prove that exercise can be our ultimate defense against a host of modern ailments such as depression, ADHD, addiction, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer.
Hundreds of studies support Ratey’s findings: Researchers were able to demonstrate time and again that exercising is not only good for our physical health but that it greatly enhances our mental health as well.
How does it work exactly?
Let’s have a look at how it works: Exercising can affect the production of certain proteins in the brain, the building blocks of neurotransmitters. One protein, in particular, named Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, or BDNF, has proven to be essential in generating new cells or neurons in the brain (neurogenesis). Dr Ratey calls this protein the Miracle-Gro for the brain. He emphasizes that nothing makes our brain cells work harder than exercise. That good feeling we get after a good sweaty workout is due to enhanced activity in the brain. That includes the release of neurotransmitters, namely dopamine and serotonin. Those are chemicals in your brain that improve your overall mood, memory and generally contribute to protecting your mental health.
Other benefits of exercising:
As addicts, we are used to instant gratification. Let’s be honest: Working out won’t give you the same high as drugs. Instead, you’ll start experiencing a natural high – without the guilt, shame and negative side effects that usually follow. The list below gives an overview of those benefits that can be felt almost immediately.
Lifts your mood out of dark spaces (thanks to dopamine & serotonin)
Builds your self-esteem and confidence
Boosts your immune system
Improves your sleeping patterns
Alleviates stress and anxiety
Prevents muscle loss
Increases your energy and endurance
Improves your balance and coordination
Lowers the risk of several cancers
Prevents and reverses many metabolic diseases
Fitness at Hope:
At Hope Rehab, we believe that exercise is crucial for a healthy body, mind and spirit. The road to recovery is a wonderful journey, but it’s also a challenging one. Over half of our team members are in recovery themselves. So we know from experience how important it truly is to develop healthy habits for rebuilding life after addiction. We are aware that you’ll most likely need encouragement – especially if physical activity hasn’t been a priority in your life before. So don’t worry: We have personal trainers and fitness experts (as well as the rest of the team) to support you, cheer you on and celebrate your first milestones with you.
Fitness activities vary from day to day
We realize that everyone is different and while one person might thrive at Yoga another one might prefer Muay Thai punches and kicks to doing sun salutations or downward dog pose. That’s why we have established a versatile exercise and fitness program. It ranges from bike rides, Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and Muay Thai Boxing over swimming, basketball, football (soccer) to HIIT (High Intensitive Interval Training), workouts with our personal trainers, weight training in our outdoor gym and walking. To keep you motivated and allow time for rest these activities will vary from day to day.
Fitness – one of the main pillars of the Hope program
We encourage you to start participating our fitness program right from the beginning of your treatment (if/while you’re detoxing you’ll be restricted to lighter workouts like Yoga or Tai Chi at first). Not just to establish a routine but also to try as many different fitness options as possible. The goal is to help you find the one or two activity/ies that you enjoy enough to establish a personal exercise program that you continue with when you’re leaving rehab.
You’ll get all the help and support you need to participate in the program
Therefore, exercising is not optional here at Hope. We briefly mentioned that every day at Hope starts with an early morning physical activity before breakfast. Getting up early to exercise can be a real challenge to anyone, especially those in recovery. Our staff members are well aware of that, and they will assist you in whatever you need to get up and show up. The instructors at Hope will help you to develop and establish your personal fitness goals. And like all good coaches, they will keep you accountable.
Indoor and outdoor activities
When coming to Hope, you can look forward to living in a place that is well located to engage in both indoor and outdoor activities all year round. We have well-maintained bicycles, and the small roads around our facility are safe and perfect for comfortable rides. These backyard roads also provide good training grounds for a running program.
Looking for a challenge?
For our clients, who are already sports enthusiasts and want more of a challenge, we offer longer bike rides around a nearby lake and hikes up the steep hill to the local Buddha statue. The hike is worth the challenge, as you will be rewarded with a 360 degrees view of the port and city of Sri Racha.
Muay Thai Boxing
Much appreciated by the fitness orientated among our clients, we also offer a comprehensive Muay Thai program. Muay Thai is one of the most important sports in Thailand, and it is fast becoming a popular, whole-body, fitness workout – not only at Hope but also in many cities around the world.
Experience the local fitness culture
Besides that, you will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with our fitness coach. In addition, there is the well-known Health Park of Sri Racha not far from Hope down by the sea. Every Friday our community goes for a good brisk walk around the park before dinner at one of the local restaurants. It is also a good opportunity to get a taste of the Thai fitness culture, breathe the sea air, and watch the often beautiful sunsets over the Gulf of Thailand.
Action at the beach on Sundays
Every Sunday, our group does an excursion to the beautiful Koh Si Chang Island; about 45 minutes ferry ride from Sri Racha. There, you can swim, play water-frisbee, or do some kayaking. Like Friday nights at the Health Park, these Sunday island excursions are an excellent way to observe local life in Thailand.
At least twice a week you can join one of our team sports like basketball, soccer or pool volleyball.
If you want to learn more about the various fitness activities we offer, please click on one of the links below.