Being active provides a phenomenal outlet for mental and physical energy and distracts when the urge to drink or use drugs strike. But coronavirus-related shut-downs and social distancing guidelines have made it difficult to maintain the same exercise routine as before because many gyms are closed or unsafe. Fortunately, there are other ways to reap the recovery benefits of exercise while staying socially distant. 

Walk or Run Outside

Even a simple walk can increase serotonin levels -- an important mood-regulating, "feel good" neurotransmitter -- in your brain. If you miss the social aspect of going to a gym, you can still walk or run outdoors with a friend. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, COVID-19 is less likely to spread outdoors than indoors, thanks to greater air circulation. However, it's still important to stay 6 feet away from people outside your household. You might have to talk a little louder to carry on a conversation, but at least you'll have some great company and an accountability buddy.

Try Virtual Classes 

Many gyms are hosting virtual classes for their members. You join a session via a video conference platform like Zoom and follow along with the instructor. Keep your camera turned on so he or she can check your form and give you feedback. 

Other gyms might offer reduced class sizes at their facility so that everyone can spread out across the room. They may hold outdoor classes, as well, weather permitting. Contact your gym to find out how they've adapted during the pandemic.

Take Advantage of Video Workouts

Although there are many advantages to working out with a friend or a coach, you can also exercise solo by following along with video workouts. Some are free on YouTube or with an Amazon Prime account, whereas others require a one-time access fee or a monthly subscription. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, some formerly restricted fitness videos -- such as those published by the YMCA -- are now available to both members and non-members. Other fitness companies offer free or extended trials, which makes this the perfect time to try something totally new.

Looking for something specific? Enter the type of workout you'd like to do into Google along with the word "free." You'll be amazed at the number of options that pop up. Whatever you choose, follow the same video (or set of videos) for at least a week. The workouts should become easier toward the end of the week, which serves as great motivation to continue.

Invest in Some Home Equipment

A home gym does not have to cost thousands of dollars, nor does it need to take up much space. In fact, you can get an incredible workout with tools as simple as a jump rope, kettlebells or dumbbells, and a yoga mat. Add an aerobic step platform, a set of resistance bands, or a fitness ball for even more variation. 

If you don't want to spend any money, use items you already have around the house, like milk jugs filled with water or sand as dumbbells, a towel as a resistance band, and the bottom step of your staircase for aerobics. Once you change your mindset, you'll see plenty of potential "gym equipment" around your home.

Let's Talk About the Options

Need some extra help adjusting your routine to support your sobriety? Let's talk! Your Confidant team is just a few taps away.