The extensive health benefits of exercise have been demonstrated by a huge number of studies. Some of the most significant physical benefits include helping to maintain a healthy weight, boosting muscle strength, increasing joint mobility and strengthening the immune system. Yet the health benefits of exercise go far beyond its immediate physical effects. Exercise has been proven to reduce dementia, and when used to combat depression, its long-term effects are comparable to those of standard antidepressant drugs. Many devotees swear that exercise creates a sense of general wellbeing that is difficult to reproduce any other way.

For people in recovery, especially for people who have recently gotten sober, regular exercise can make an extraordinary difference to health and general wellbeing. Here’s how you can use it to help you build the life you want to lead.

Make it a routine

Like everything else, exercise is much easier to get done if you make schedule it on a regular basis. If you intend to get it done at some point, there’s quite a good chance that it won’t happen. Try scheduling exercise consistently and make it a priority in your life. The consistency of your workout can be one of the building blocks of a daily routine that propels you to where you want to go – and helps you stay there.

Set goals and track your progress

That feeling of satisfaction after a great workout is like nothing else. What provides even more motivation and helps you stay on track – in your workouts and beyond – is tracking the change in your physical abilities. Whether you aim to run a mile in five minutes or walk it in two hours isn’t the point; what matters is that you have clear workout goals in mind and you measure your progress towards them. Little is more motivating than watching yourself in the process of attaining a goal. This practice can make you feel fantastic about your fitness, and it can be very helpful if you choose to apply it in other areas of your life as well.

Keep it in perspective

Exercise can help breed discipline and satisfaction. As with a number of activities we encourage people to take part in to facilitate sober living, there is a chance of becoming obsessed with exercise as a form of displacement. Obviously there are far worse things to be obsessed with than exercise, but that possibility is definitely something to stay aware of, so you can create a balanced sober lifestyle that works for you.