When we were in active addiction or suffering other mental health issues, we rarely cared about exercise or getting out into nature. When we enter into sobriety and are in the process of healing, however, hiking can be a great way to improve our physical and mental health. Hiking provides the aerobic exercise we need to help our bodies heal and strengthen, while also providing major benefits to our mood. Fresh air, physical activity, and beautiful scenery come together when we are hiking to give us a wonderful exercise experience. The wonderful thing about hiking is that it is always changing. Hiking can encompass everything from a gentle walk in nature to more intense activities on rugged terrain. These variations in hiking make it possible for anyone to find hiking exercise that fits their physical level.
In a Harvard Health article entitled Health Benefits of Hiking: Raise Your Heart Rate and Your Mood, Julie Corliss explains, “Like brisk walking, hiking is a good way to improve your cardiovascular fitness, particularly if your route includes some hills, which will force your heart to work harder. Hiking on the slightly uneven surface of a trail also provides a natural way to engage the core muscles in your torso and to hone your balance skills.”
Additional Benefits of Hiking
Other benefits of hiking include lowered risk of heart disease, improved blood pressure and blood sugar levels, increased bone density, weight control, and improved mood. Exercise alone provides a boost in mood, but when combined with the serenity of nature and fresh air, the potential to feel better mentally and emotionally is improved significantly. Corliss further expands upon the mental benefits of hiking: “Another advantage of hiking may be the restorative and stress-relieving powers of being outside in nature.
A number of small studies hint that spending time in green spaces — nature preserves, woodlands, and even urban parks — may ease people’s stress levels. Given the growing consensus that stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease risk, anything you can do to mitigate stress is likely helpful. Getting away from the boring and repetitive motions provided by treadmills and weight machines by hiking may be the best way to get engaged in an exercise routine and reap all the health benefits of being out in nature.
Hiking as Part of a Larger Comprehensive Addiction Treatment Program
Hiking is an important part of a larger comprehensive addiction treatment program. Physical activity helps to reduce stress and promote relaxation, a key component in recovery from any addiction. Hiking also encourages mindfulness, which can help patients focus on the present moment and gain insight into their thoughts and feelings.
Additionally, it provides an opportunity for social interaction with peers who are also in recovery, which helps foster a supportive atmosphere. Research has even found that hiking can reduce cravings associated with addiction, making it an important therapeutic component of any addiction treatment program.
Finally, being out in nature provides a sense of grounding and connection to the world around us, which can be especially beneficial for those struggling with substance abuse. With all these benefits, it is clear that hiking should be incorporated into any comprehensive addiction treatment program.
Get Help With Your Addiction Today
Your story can be one of health and happiness in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help now and begin the journey toward complete recovery from addiction and alcoholism. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment facility in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers a variety of treatment techniques, including hiking, as part of the Residential Program. For more information about individualized treatment options, please call today at (877) 296-7477.