On Sunday, August 12, community members and participants from Pacifica’s Treatment Centre gathered at Trout Lake for the 1st Annual 5K Fun Run “Race for Recovery”. The School of Kinesiology participated as a partner in the event, which celebrated life, people, community, and the power of exercise in recovery from addiction. Exhilarated runners crossed the finish line to the cheers and support of family, friends, and volunteers. Following the 1 and 5km runs, a festive ceremony led by CTV News Vancouver anchor Coleen Christie brought numerous participants to the microphone all expounding the powerful effect of exercise on mental health and its key role in recovery.
“We now know that exercise induces powerful biological effects on virtually every organ system in the body, including the brain,” said Robert Boushel, Director of the School of Kinesiology. “There is vast sensory input to the brain and hundreds of biomolecules are released into the circulation during exercise. Exercise stimulates growth of new nerve cells and release of proteins such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor that improve health and survival of nerve cells.”
“What we have observed with our clients is that engaging in the exercise program helps them to reconnect with their own sense of being capable in both physical activity as well as their emotional well being,” said Alison Silgardo, Pacifica CEO. “In addition, we observe that clients build a positive sense of connection initially with their peers, but ultimately with the rest of society. This connection helps them to realize that
they belong in society, and that they are much more than their struggles with addiction. Seeing our alumni come back to participate in runs helps them to remain connected not only to recovery but to a healthy lifestyle.
“As the only licensed addiction treatment centre in the Vancouver region (funded by Vancouver Coastal Health), we have been focused on holistic approach (bio, psycho, social, spiritual) to treatment. The integration of a 52-week exercise program has had a tremendous impact on our clients. None of this would have been possible without the support of partners over the past two years like the School of Kinesiology, Sobeys, Racketts and Runners, BC Housing, Worksafe, and Parks Board.”