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The Impact of Sober Sports on the Four Pillars of Wellness

addiction recovery health and fitness

It’s official, we have launched the local Powell River branch of Sober Sports! I couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of nurturing and growing this initiative here locally. It is my sincere and impassioned hope that this local branch re-invigorates our ability to grow Sober Sports and expose many people, from all walks of life, to the vast array of benefits it can provide.

The mission is well defined…

Utilize sport and recreation as foundations for addiction recovery support, promote addiction advocacy and awareness, and encourage lifestyles and relationships beneficial to individual wellness.

If you are thinking, all that from road hockey, let me explain more thoroughly. It is our experience and belief that physical activity in a safe, fun, and supportive environment promotes health in all four spheres of wellness.

Biological/Physical

Have you played road hockey recently? It is a remarkable workout that I would argue is both far more difficult that your current interval training protocol, and is definitely a lot more enjoyable. Something to look forward to as opposed to dreading.

From a physical standpoint, decreased likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, musculoskeletal issues, and hormonal imbalance, are at least a few of the many physical benefits associated with even limited physical activity. Additionally, some of the benefits to the body also have a direct and extremely positive impact on the brain.

Psychological/Mental

The psychological benefits of moderate to intense bouts of steady state or interval style workouts lasting longer than 20 minutes are well documented and far reaching. Decreases in stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD/ADD have been scientifically proven beyond doubt. Spikes in neuroplasticity and neurogenesis (brain cell growth) through this sort of exercise drastically improve learning, memory, emotional regulation, cognition, self-esteem, and sleeping patterns. These changes take place due to a variety of neurotransmitters and growth factors secreted during moderate to high-intensity physical activity.

As I like to tell our clients – You wouldn’t focus on the exterior of your car and neglect what’s under the hood would you??

Social

Sober Sports brings together people who battle substance use issues and those who don’t to foster a community of like-minded people who are interested in the many benefits of sport and recreation in a substance free environment. The obvious social benefits are for those in recovery connecting themselves with healthy positive people who they can then develop relationships with. In the other direction, the impact of integration of “regular” folks into this Sober Sports environment allows for the deconstruction of the many stigmas, myths, and misconceptions that surround those suffering from substance abuse/misuse issues.

It is this function that outlines the true transformative potential of Sober Sports.  Through integration, empathy, and understanding, Sober Sports can help change the way society views those with substance abuse issues as well as evolve the archaic paradigm that serves to help them.

Spiritual

Perhaps slightly less obvious than the rest, but in the same way that hiking, or kayaking, or spending time in nature can be a spiritual experience for some, organized sports and can have a similar effect.

The general and broad definition of spirituality includes a sense of connection with something bigger than ourselves and typically involves a search for the meaning of life. Sober Sports encourages and fosters a connection and camaraderie that can touch on both of those factors. Sports, and any group activity, encourage connection through the shared experiences with other people in pursuit of a common goal.

While we may not always realize it, I would wager the reason we all love healthy group activities is because their unique ability to improve all 4 quadrants of wellness. With that in mind, we are passionate about the continued growth of our Sober Sports initiative to include more communities around our country with increasing variety of sport and recreational offerings in a way that provides an environment for everyone to enjoy the many benefits that participation can afford.

Kye has been an employee at Sunshine Coast Health Center since 2008. He enjoys the challenge of working with the diverse spectrum of clients found at Sunshine Coast and has enjoyed working in a program that values physical fitness as part of an overall focus on wellness. Kye is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University in the field of Exercise Science and has worked in both Washington State and British Columbia in a variety of outpatient clinical settings.

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A favorite memory so far would have to be my first or second day in. It was the first outing I went on and we went cliff-jumping right next to this waterfall and it was amazing. That first jump in there was definitely an experience. I really enjoyed it!

- Pete

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