Fitness center opens to support local addiction recovery efforts

A new fitness center that grew out of local addiction recovery efforts is having a block party celebrating its grand opening on Saturday.

Rat Park CrossFit & Fitness at 410 Hope Avenue will have activities going on from 3 to 7 p.m. that will include free community workouts, a sled race competition, a cross fit workout, live DJ, smoothies and food truck.

The fitness center idea grew from the efforts of the Recover Out Loud group for those recovering from substance abuse disorders.

Organizers, John and Meagan Cunningham say that when the coronavirus hit and most recovery support groups were suspended or went virtual, they began hosting people at their home to take part in recovery-centered fitness sessions under their car port. With financial support from Heritage Fund: The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County and Columbus Regional Health Foundation, the Cunninghams are opening the fitness center.

John said that the Rat Park name comes from a series of scientific experiments that showed solitary rats were more easily drawn into addictive behaviors, while when they were brought into a larger society, they dropped the addiction.

The center will still offer the free R-Fit recovery-centered fitness program, as well as paid memberships with a portion of those fees going to support the Recover Out Loud community efforts.