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Physical activity can aid in your recovery from addiction

Commonly known components of inpatient addiction treatment include detox, counseling and group therapy sessions. However, recent studies show that recreation therapy can also offer many benefits throughout the addiction recovery process.

At Geisinger Marworth Treatment Center, recreation therapy is one of the key components of our treatment program, helping inpatient addiction therapy residents recover from drug and substance addiction while helping them grow physically and emotionally.

“Recreation therapy provides healthy opportunities for residents to learn and practice new skills that can help them maintain sobriety,” says Lori Pilosi, a recreation therapy supervisor at Geisinger Marworth.

Let’s take a closer look at what recreation therapy is and how it can help you on your journey towards recovery.

What is recreation therapy?

Recreation therapy includes participation in healthy leisure activities, team problem solving and trust exercises. Those who have suffered from addiction for some time may not know how to engage in social activities or hobbies without being under the influence of drugs and alcohol. This therapy can help change behaviors around leisure activities while promoting physical health, rehabilitation from drug addiction and a stronger sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. 

At Geisinger Marworth, residents are led by three certified therapeutic recreation therapists (CTRS) through activities that help teach common themes of addiction recovery, such as fostering group problem-solving capabilities, learning to trust others, asking for help and confronting compulsive behavior. 

“Residents are encouraged to work as a team to solve problems and take personal risks,” says Ms. Pilosi.

Some of our recreation therapy activities include:

  • Social activities
  • Leisure education and lectures
  • Team sports
  • Team-building activities
  • Trust activities, such as the "high-elements ropes course" which includes a 30-foot rock climbing wall, giant’s ladder, zip line and multi-vine features
  • Low-elements ropes course
  • Fitness center with cardiovascular machines, universal circuit machines, free weights and space to follow aerobic and yoga videos
  • Nine-hole disc golf course
  • Music therapy
  • Nature activities on Geisinger Marworth's 27-acre campus and at a nearby park
  • Relaxation and stress management
  • Arts and crafts

What is a recreational therapist?

Recreational therapists, who are trained and certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification, are professionals who can help those recovering from substance abuse find joy in their life again. 

From leading group sports, hiking and team exercises to stress management, recreational therapists specialize in using leisure activities to help residents increase their overall quality of life in early sobriety. Recreational therapists take the time to understand residents and their personal goals, then they create a personalized plan to help them achieve those goals through enjoyable activities.

Why does recreation therapy work?

This type of therapy is shown to reduce stress and symptoms of depression and anxiety, which can reduce the risk of relapsing during addiction treatment and early sobriety.

And because recreation therapy focuses on the whole person, the physical, cognitive, emotional, social and leisure aspects of life are also developed – helping individuals feel more confident and in control of their life overall. 

Benefits of recreation therapy

Physical activity and exercise play an important role in recovery from alcohol or drug abuse, relapse prevention, and overall health and wellness.

“An exercise routine can help reduce cravings and alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress,” says Ms. Pilosi. “Exercise is just one example of a healthy interest that can help alleviate boredom, which is a major relapse trigger in many people recovering from addiction.”

Recreation therapy helps build self-esteem, independence, social skills, cooperation and trust. The activities can also help individuals stay healthy, rebuild their leisure life and form bonds with others who are also living a sober lifestyle.

We’re here to help you recover

Located in beautiful Waverly, Pa., our team of addiction specialists is here to help you get on the road to recovery. With a treatment plan that’s tailored to you and your unique situation, and complementary programs like our recreation therapy program, our goal is to help you take your life back from addiction. 

Learn more about Geisinger Marworth’s treatment programs and services. Have questions? Call 1-800-442-7722 or email to speak with an admissions counselor.

Next steps:

Get addiction help now
Learn more about addiction treatment at Geisinger Marworth

Two young adults rock climbing during recreation therapy.

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