Exercise is a vital component of anyone’s life, but it’s especially important for those in recovery. Not only does exercise make you stronger, it helps you concentrate, boosts your self -esteem, and best of all, gives you a chance to set and hit goals that you can see in the mirror. But like any journey, it takes one step (literally) to get started. So depending on your body and your mind, how should you go about finding a fitness plan that’s right for you? Here are some tips.

Start Small

If you're starting a fitness regimen, the first instinct for a lot of us is to just jump right in full tilt the first time and go until we're ragged (which, for most of us, is probably not very long). But all that does is burn you out right away. That could put you in a cycle of failure and put you off from wanting to exercise. If all you can do is 5 minutes of walking, do that. Getting fit isn't an overnight miracle – so let your body adjust. Be gentle with yourself. If you feel like you're getting bored, listen to music or read a book to help it go faster.

It's YOUR Schedule

Make exercise work around your schedule, not your schedule around exercise! If that means taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking just a little more to get to class or work, take advantage of it. Think of exercise as any other appointment you would make that's part of your recovery, and make it into your kind of schedule. Remember – your goals will be different from anyone else's goals, and your schedule should reflect that. Again, fitness is a slow build! If you need something visual to keep you going, keep a calendar handy for writing down times for workouts. If you have a friend or peer that can work out with you, you can help keep each other on track.

Staying Committed

Regular exercise feels like it might be difficult to maintain, but it isn't once you get into the routine and start to feel its effects. Sometimes your body might not cooperate, and that's okay. If you think your routine is getting stale, switch it up! Your body is bored too, and you might be able to push yourself just that little bit more. Just like recovery, take it one day at a time.

When it comes to recovery, making sure you stay fit is one of the best ways to focus on your sobriety. Setting goals and hitting them will make you stronger all around. But remember: it's up to you to know what you can handle and what you can't. Your journey to fitness is not like anyone else's so take the time to get to know your body. And most of all, if you've pushed a little too far, give yourself time to rest. Be patient with yourself and with some time, you'll reap the rewards of a healthier mind and body.