GUILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — “Working in a hospital was very stressful during Covid,” said Mary Kwasniewski, a float nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Three years ago, she knew she needed an outlet. So, she signed-up for a CrossFit class at the Guilford Athletic Center.

“Anxious, just looking for something to release, some kind of therapy,” she said.

And, what she found was much more than a workout.

The gym is also home to a non-profit called Recovery Move, urging participants to heal through exercise.

“It’s not just revolutionary, it’s transforming to come and watch people during their process,” said Hannah Jurewicz, a psychologist based in Branford who has been in recovery for self esteem issues for years.

She partnered with Clint Zeidenberg to create this concept that pairs a fitness class with a therapeutic meeting afterwards.

“You do stretching, mobility, you breathe,” Zeidenberg said.

They’ve even helped at-risk teens and young adults struggling with addiction and mental health issues.

“We gain their trust very quickly with the happy hormones. Right after they work out, it’s easier for them to share and talk and communicate,” Zeidenberg said.

“Back in the day, we were moving all the time, hunting, gathering, that sort of stuff,” said Jurewicz, who believes, in addition to the release of endorphins, the bi-lateral movements in this workout help clear our neural-pathways, promoting healing.

But, the workout is about building confidence and camaraderie, too.

“You could have a 16 year old working out next to a 70 year old and they’re communicating. They’re talking and you’re in the moment, you’re not on your phone or computer, you’re in the moment,” Zeidenberg said.

The concept is working for Kwasniewski.

“I feel stronger. My mental health is better, just overall feeling good,” she said.

The goal is for this idea to spread.

“Just show up, that’s all you need to do and we take care of the rest,” Jurewicz said.

Recovery Move will also offer a group for those struggling with eating disorders which will include a licensed clinician.

Scholarships are offered, enabling those who need it to workout for free.

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