Over the past few weeks, our vice president of business development – Donna Pellegrino – has shone a light on a powerful tool on the road to recovery: fitness. Working out and pursuing fitness goals creates a new outlet for stress relief and allows individuals in recovery to put their sometimes dangerous free time to healthy use. Some studies have already begun to identify fitness as a reputable lifestyle change activity and relapse prevention strategy. This is because exercise and physical activity can actually help return dopamine levels to pre-abuse heights.
Donna’s weekly radio program – Airing Addiction, hosted by WTAG – featured Janelle Nicolo Monteiro a few weeks ago and, at the time, neither of them knew it would spark a local movement. Janelle is a fitness model and competitor and the owner of Body Ambition in Middleton MA. She spoke with Donna about losing her sister to addiction, and how difficult it is to watch her niece struggle still today.
After recording her segment, she knew she wanted to – and could – help. She began offering free fitness classes to anybody in recovery, no questions asked. She spread the word and quickly, Jen DiCandia – owner of NV Fitness in Worcester – began doing the same. Jen lost her brother to addiction and joined Donna to talk about her loss, and why she chose to offer her gym up as a solace for those suffering, on the very next edition of Airing Addiction.
Inspired by the feedback and seeing how powerful this resource could be, Jennifer and Jen started a support group on Facebook, Recovery Through Fitness, which has garnered interest from people all over the country in the past few weeks. The page offers people a place to share their stories – both successes and struggles. It has also encouraged other fitness instructors to offer the same program in their respective areas, like Krissy Mae Cagney who is now offering the same program at her Black Iron Gym in Nevada.
To hear about the power of fitness in recovery from a former Spectrum Health Systems’ client working out with Jen at NV Fitness, see this recent article in the Telegram & Gazette.
Hear where it all began in the Airing Addiction archive, here.
Airing Addiction is a weekly radio show hosted by Donna Pellegrino. Donna and her guests talk about living with active addiction, living in recovery and everything in between. You can catch it live on Sundays at 10am ET on WTAG radio or access past episodes here.