MARC Therapist Laura Kendall, LGPC, shares some thoughts on the importance of health and fitness, and how the current patient population has incorporated daily holistic habits to support their recovery from addiction and also their mental health dealing with the current coronavirus pandemic while in treatment.

Exercise during early recovery is a good way to provide structure to an individual as well as offer various mental health benefits. For anyone in early recovery, no matter when, engaging in a routine of exercise or fitness is extremely important considering most people with a history of substance use disorder and addiction didn’t take care of themselves very well. Now, however, we are all dealing with the impact of the coronavirus and COVID-19, when health and safety on all of our minds daily. While individuals are being quarantined, and gyms are closed, it is important that everyone finds ways to continue staying active as much as possible. Individual practitioners have switched their classes to online, offering yoga or meditation. Many gyms and personal trainers are offering free virtual workouts, as well as online personal training in order to keep people active and healthy. Many of these organizations are offering up these programs for free and merely asking for donations to help their employees. This is a great resource especially for individuals in recovery who benefit from physical exercise to help with their recovery and sobriety. For individuals in residential treatment, however, this is not always an option and instead they have to come up with alternative ways to stay healthy and active.

At Maryland Addiction Recovery Center, patients living in our extended care Community Living treatment program have been coming up with creative ways to continue staying active while having to adhere to new restrictions and guidelines put in place of social distancing and being self-quarantined. Elyse and Josh Buchbinder from B-Strong Athletics continue to work with patients twice a week to help them stay active and work to reach individual fitness goals. Josh has done research surrounding the current epidemic and how fitness can have a positive role in how we’re protecting ourselves., He said that by incorporating moderate-intensity workouts into the patient’s schedules, “it releases natural dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and other neurotransmitters that elevate mood, reduce anxiety, depression, and can alleviate cravings for drugs and alcohol.” Another important tip is that while many of us are quarantining and take that as a reason to spend extra time in front of our screens, it is actually more beneficial to us mentally and physically to be outside soaking up the sunlight!  If you can get outside for a minimum of 20 minutes a day it can allow your body to absorb full spectrum UV as well as absorb Vitamin D into your body. Vitamin D can help your body produce natural melatonin which leads to a better night’s sleep, which in turn can help individuals struggling with mental health issues. In addition to their fitness group twice a week, patients at MARC are offered various outdoor activities at the community living campus that offers the opportunity to stay active and not get stuck in front of their televisions. One current patient offers daily yoga and meditation classes, while others are taking part in lawn games and sports. Overall patients are doing their best to stay healthy and active during a very uncertain time and, in the process, have work together towards building a stronger community.

By dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic together, incorporating important holistic activities and health and fitness goals as a group, our current patient population is both supporting each other to continue their journey of recovery from addiction  and also working together to incorporate healthy daily  habits and routines that they will use once we move past this pandemic and that will support them individually in their personal recovery.”

If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorder issues, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at info@marylandaddictionrecovery.com. For more information on all of our drug addiction, alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorder services and recovery resources, please visit our web site at www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com.

Zach Snitzer is the Director of Business Development at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center and is responsible for the business development, marketing, branding, public relations, communications, and social media strategies of the organization.