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Health and Fitness II: How I See My Role at SCHC

The Big Picture

Two things govern everything that we do at the Sunshine Coast Health Centre:

1. An ongoing pursuit of discovering what guides personal meaning and purpose

2. A commitment to improving bio-psycho-social-spiritual health

These two guiding principles are shaped by an unflinching commitment to evidence-based research that often flies directly in the face of traditional approaches to addiction treatment. I understand that this sort of rhetoric and lingo can be confusing, but what’s important to remember is that we aim to provide an environment built on mutual respect, compassionate care, and unconditional positive regard for our clients. Through these ways, we can support our clients as they embark on a journey of self-discovery that will allow them to clarify what’s important to them, what gives them meaning and purpose, and provide them with the tools and knowledge necessary to live with a heightened quality of life. With all of that in mind, my role is to expose our clients to an active and healthy lifestyle that promotes physical, social, psychological and spiritual health.

Our Approach is a Little Different

To illustrate the importance we put on physical activity and health as it relates to quality of life, here is an example of an everyday occurrence at SCHC. Our daily outings in the afternoon are always a highlight for both myself and the clients. Some facilities might pawn them off as gimmicks or as divergent from the therapeutic process, stating that they’re not part of 12 steps. They would be 100% correct.

Go Bake Your Pie

If the purpose of our facility is to allow clients the autonomy to assemble a “life pie” that allows them to lead lives that make them happy and fulfilled, I believe that physical fitness and recreation need to be a significant slice of that pie. After all, the word recreation literally means “To make new, or re-create”. While each client has the right to pick and choose how big this slice is and what sort of ingredients (e.g. values) go into it, the mounds of literature in favour of physical activity as an important component of health is irrefutable these days. For any facility or person who disagrees with this, I’d be happy to share with you my garbage truck full of research papers that support this stance.

This is What it Feels Like

So, it’s now 3 PM at SCHC. The guys assemble on the patio, excited for the adventure I have planned for them. Today, it’s a hike to Freil Lake Falls Lookout. There is a buzz in the air as I have hyped this hike for the past week in response to our clients looking for a more substantial challenge. After a day of small groups, 1-on-1 appointments, lectures, and deep personal exploration, our clients are ready to get sweaty and recharge their minds and bodies with a hike in the beautiful back country of Powell River. With a starting elevation of 2000ft, we climb another 1200ft through changing terrain, eventually emerging atop a rocky outcropping with views that unfold back towards the Smith Range (Coastal Mountain Range) to the East. Sweaty and out of breath we absorb the awe inspiring view that stretches out in front of us. Freil Falls in the distance cascades some 1000ft down towards the ocean. It is not an exaggeration to say that we are all slightly dumbfounded and giddy like a pack of teenage girls about to go see Justin Bieber. Jokes are shared, pictures are taken, and I know that it is just this type of moment that might just ignite a passion for recreation and exercise within those who stand atop of that mountain with me that will stay ablaze for many years to come. As we stand atop the mountain, a quote by the most famous mountain climber in history comes to mind: “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Sir Edmund Hillary, I think you might just be right my good sir.

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