Exercise Can Fill the Wine-Shaped Hole and Make You Feel Fantastic!
There are so many negatives linked to excessive drinking – increased anxiety, poor quality sleep, weight gain, financial expense, and ill health…the list goes on. When you stop drinking, you instantly claw back hours of free time and exercise is a great way to fill it – not only will it keep you busy but it will also benefit you in so many other ways. Any exercise is good (but please consult your doctor before you begin an exercise programme if you are unfit) although the thing that really does it for me is running. Here are a few reasons why I love this activity – something that has truly helped me in staying happily alcohol-free…
I used to drink heavily to ‘deal with stress’ although, as we all know, alcohol actually increases stress. Running on the other hand, genuinely, truly eradicates stress.
I’ve never been good at watching my weight long term. I can do it for a few days, omitting the cakes, ordering black Americano instead of full fat lattes, but it never lasts and eventually I cave in and get stuck into a big bun and a creamy drink to go with it. Running means that I can maintain my weight, even taking into consideration those moments of weakness.
If you’ve stopped drinking alcohol and no longer wish to go to pubs, running with a small group can be a brilliant way of meeting new friends and getting your ‘fix’ of social interaction.
Finding out that your body is capable of achieving goals once considered out of reach injects confidence, simple as that. I know that I am fit; I have the ability to commit to something and stick at it. I run in the rain and the snow and the wind and the cold – I feel fearless when I run. Running has probably been the biggest boost to my self-confidence over my lifetime.
Exercise causes your body to release endorphins, and endorphins make you feel happy. Running is no exception, and I cannot recall ever going for a jog and returning home feeling emotionally worse than I did when I set off. As I have struggled intermittently with depression, I find the endorphin-boost I experience from running to be essential for my mental wellbeing – and it comes with none of the associated hangovers, bad moods or weight gain that alcohol used to bring.
If you’re looking for suggestions check out the Get Ireland Active website