Drug and alcohol addiction can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Prolonged periods of heavy or frequent substance abuse may change how your body functions, making it very challenging to stop using without professional treatment.
During treatment, it’s important to get to the root of your addiction and address the issues that lead to it. But it’s equally important to learn skills that will help you manage the symptoms of your addiction and avoid relapse for the rest of your life.
Holistic practices can help people improve their overall well-being during addiction recovery. Hiking can be a practical treatment approach that helps people maintain their sobriety for the rest of their lives. Hiking allows people to connect with nature, improve their physical health, and form a new, supportive community.
To learn more about the benefits of hiking in recovery or to hear more about the programs we offer, reach out to the Moving Mountains Recovery specialists today.
The Benefits of Hiking in Recovery
Addiction treatment programs may use hiking in recovery because it offers many benefits. But what makes hiking in addiction recovery so unique?
Hiking gives people a break from the demands of treatment and provides opportunities to connect with nature and explore a new location. Here are some of the other benefits of hiking in addiction recovery.
Cravings can lead people toward relapse. Learning to manage cravings is an essential part of lifelong addiction recovery. Research shows that just 15 minutes of walking can reduce the intensity of drug and alcohol cravings. The combination of physical exercise and natural surroundings can be an effective, pleasant distraction from your cravings.
Hiking can help you feel better about yourself in several ways. First, setting and achieving goals related to hiking can increase your self-esteem. You may set a goal of hiking a certain number of times or a specific distance and then work toward it throughout your time in treatment. Hiking can also improve your physical strength and fitness and help you feel more comfortable in your body–and you may appreciate what it can do for you. This may help you want to take the best care of your body and keep you committed to sobriety.
Hiking in addiction recovery is often a group event. Hiking with others creates a sense of community and builds trust between people quickly.
Hiking can boost your mental and physical health and lead to better outcomes in recovery and beyond.
Hiking in Addiction Recovery: Getting Started
Comprehensive addiction recovery programs use evidence-based and holistic therapies to address the emotional, behavioral, and physical aspects of substance abuse. Many people begin their recovery journey by participating in a medically-supported detox program. During detox, people receive the medical care and emotional support they need to have a safe, comfortable withdrawal period.
While detox can help people eliminate drugs and alcohol from their bodies, it is not enough to prevent relapse or give people the skills they need to live healthy, sober lives.
Treatment programs include a range of treatments, including:
- Individual counseling
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Mental health and medical treatment
Many programs offer holistic therapies, including outdoor adventures and recreation. Hiking is an enriching part of the Moving Mountains Recovery programs because it provides an inclusive way to connect with nature and support recovery.
People in our recovery programs enjoy hiking in addiction recovery during treatment and beyond. People may hike alone to develop their personal relationship with nature or may hike as part of a group to create community. People often enjoy the benefits of hiking in recovery so much that they include hiking in their aftercare plans.
Getting the Mental Health Benefits of Hiking
Our bodies and minds are intricately connected. There are real, measurable mental health effects of hiking and other types of exercise. When you hike, your muscles run out of stored oxygen, forcing them to rely on anaerobic respiration. This process creates lactic acid buildup in your muscles, which makes your brain release endorphins. Endorphins reduce the perception of pain, lower stress levels, and create feelings of pleasure and euphoria that are similar to the effects of some substances.
Simply put, hiking can lead to a natural rush of feel-good chemicals. Regularly participating in exercise, including hiking, can lead to better outcomes in recovery because it lowers your stress levels and provides a healthy alternative to using drugs and alcohol.
People who get exercise–especially when it happens outdoors–enjoy a range of mental health benefits, including:
- Less stress
- Better emotional regulation
- Improved sleep
- Fewer cravings
Hiking can also lead to new friendships and relationships and inspire a deeper connection with nature. Spending time exploring the outdoors may help you focus on what is truly meaningful and develop an appreciation for your place in the world. More connection, new friendships, and a new purpose can all have a significant, positive impact on your mental health.
Adventure-Based Drug & Alcohol Rehab in New Jersey
If you or someone you love require holistic, effective addiction treatment, reach out to the Moving Mountains Recovery admissions staff to learn about starting one of our programs.