Coping Skills: Exercise and Nutrition

Coping Skills: Exercise and Nutrition

People with solid recovery find that having a toolbox filled with effective coping skills is an important resource. These non-chemical coping skills replace the old, destructive habits of using, numbing, and avoiding. This program specifically addresses Exercise and Nutrition.


The definition of Cope:

To deal effectively with something difficult.

When starting down the path to recovery, coping with some of the realities of your life can be challenging. Many of us experienced life by numbing ourselves, so when we remove the harmful substance from our life, it can be hard to deal with certain situations.

Developing strong coping skills can help you get through the challenges. This program will give you an overview of one type of coping skill.

Exercise and Nutrition

Many people in recovery did not take very good care of themselves in active addiction, so setting priorities around healthy fitness and nutrition behaviors will help you cope with the ups and downs of early recovery. Some suggestions:

Some people like to do a “walking meditation” to combine both physical exercise and meditation skills. Here's a link that will teach you more about doing a walking meditation:

Walking Meditation

Write down places and types of walking meditation, so you can easily refer to a list of options when you need them.

Joining a Gym

Join a gym and get a trainer. If that’s too expensive, get together with some peers and play sports, walk, run or bike together. That way, you combine social and recreational pursuits with healthy activity.

A great resource for combining socializing with physical and recreational activities is Phoenix MultiSport, a resource for fit and fun activities for people in recovery. Here's the link:

Phoenix Multisport | Sober Active Community

Write some gym/exercise ideas, so you can easily refer to a list of options when you need them.

Talk to knowledgeable care providers about healthy eating (personal physician, nurse, nutritionist). Use online tools to track your progress and get ideas for recipes.

Set wellness goals using the SAM goal setting model, and track these goals on a calendar. To learn more about goals, visit the SAM Guide for Goal Setting.

Consider getting a wearable fitness device, like step-counters and fitness trackers that monitor sleep, heart rate and other biometrics. Some of these may even sync with your smartphone or tablet. Here's a great article on fitness trackers:

The Well Guide to Activity Trackers


In order to be successful in your recovery from addiction and build a life of promise, you need to acquire and grow strong coping skills. When you expand your ability to deal with tough situations, you'll find that you can make it through almost anything without relapsing.

Building coping skills takes practice, so be patient with yourself. Remember to set attainable goals, so when choosing skills to work on, make a list of steps to achieve it, and work your way through that list a step at a time.

Your To Do List

  • Practice coping using exercise and nutrition

Keep learning about coping skills and read Coping Skills: Mindfulness.

© 2016 UCHealth | CeDAR

Contact us or call 720.848.3000 to speak with someone at CeDAR