MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Blustering snow flurries, below freezing temperatures and gusty winds aren’t stopping the fun for these brave visitors at Sibley Park.
“I love it! It’s beautiful out!" For Dan Maas, sledding with friends means more than just an average hangout. “We’re just sober people in recovery, you know, come get a workout in. Physical fitness is a part that we neglected for long times through addiction, one addition or another, so it’s just cool to come together with like-minded individuals and have a good time, and workout, and release endorphins. It’s awesome.”
Dan leads Sober Functional Fitness, a group of individuals recovering from addiction that use fitness to cope with the wellness process. “Because of gyms closing down and number restrictions and everything, we’ve been meeting here in the park and socially distancing whatever and holding workouts for addicts and alcoholics in the recovery world.”
Despite the impact COVID-19 has had on gym closures and the ability to come together, Sober Functional Fitness adapts to find ways to keep the fitness component active in the lives of its group members who are committed to meeting weekly. “This is probably the smallest group that we’ve had since COVID hit, and that’s because of the snow. Some of them didn’t want to come out and play, but we decided to make the most of it and go sledding and do squats and jumping jacks and everything else as if the hill isn’t bad enough.”
For these strong survivors, not even a health pandemic or Minnesota’s frigid weather conditions will slow them down. “I think it’s very important to still get out, still do things, be physically active. Especially with COVID, you can’t be inside being depressed,” Maas added.
The benefit of physical fitness has been reflected in the success stories Dan has been a part of. “I have seen addicts and alcoholics come together in a very beautiful fashion and stick together and do things like this and not let their addictions win.”