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How Hiking Helps Recovery

How Hiking Helps Recovery

Villa Oasis San Diego is blessed to have our rehabilitation center in beautiful San Diego. One of our many forms of therapy includes hiking as a form of healing. Spending time in green spaces has been proven to reduce stress, elevate mood, and improve your health. This article discusses why you should consider hiking as a form of therapy and enjoy what natural wonders San Diego offers.

What Is Hiking Therapy?

Hiking therapy is a form of adventure therapy where people who want to heal from substance use and mental health can take advantage of the vibrant wilderness to assist with healing. This type of therapy works great with other therapies such as talk therapy and can be a great addition to your program. If you love the outdoors and want to develop great ways to build motivation and challenge yourself, then hiking therapy might be the answer.

Green Space and Your Brain

Research shows that exposure to nature can be great for your brain in many ways. Spending time in nature can lower stress, increase mood, and increase intention span. Nature can also improve your physical well-being as well. Living somewhere close to nature makes you more likely to be physically active and spend time outdoors. Green spaces provide plenty of opportunities for exercise compared to areas with less nature.

Unfortunately, people aren’t exposed to nature on a daily basis. The world is becoming increasingly urbanized, and green spaces are disappearing. This is why it’s crucial to seek out nature spots like hiking trails, lakefronts, and parks.

Why San Diego?

San Diego is home to plenty of hiking trails that explore our beautiful mountain ranges and wilderness. Some of the terrains can be challenging. You might not think you’re capable of climbing an entire mountain. However, that challenge can be exactly what you need to prove that you can overcome anything.

Why You Should Consider Hiking Therapy

Exposure to Fresh Air

Hiking therapy can be an excellent option for you, especially if you’re prone to spending too much time indoors. Fresh air can be a great stress reliever and an escape from the pollution you might experience in an urban area. So many trees produce oxygen that you can’t help but feel good. If hiking on a trail isn’t an option, try walking in a park to breathe the fresh air.

Keeps You Moving

Exercise is an important aspect of healing. If you aren’t someone who likes to hit the gym, hiking can be a great alternative to the regular exercise routine. Physical activity is an essential part of addiction recovery. Unfortunately, people who have an active addiction might not prioritize their physical health. 

It’s common for people to enter treatment and be out of shape. This lack of activity can affect your mood, stress, and long-term health. Hiking can be a great physical activity because it doesn’t always feel like an exercise in the way that working out in the gym or going for a jog does. You’re just walking in the woods. If a person doesn’t like traditional exercise, hiking can be a great way to connect with nature and stay in shape.

Nature Provides Peace and Quiet

Being out in the wilderness is peaceful. The only sounds are birds singing and leaves rustling. You can focus on your thoughts instead of all the stimuli around you. Hiking can be meditative for this reason. You can stay present in the moment instead of worrying about the future or the past. All that matters is you and the trail.

Let’s You Try Something New

It’s not uncommon for people to join our hiking therapy program and have never hiked before. Even if they’ve done some light hiking, they might have never gone up a mountain. If you haven’t been outside the typical urban environment, hiking can be a great experience. Hiking therapy can also be a great way to get out of your comfort zone. If you’re not used to the great outdoors, you can enjoy this new experience, learn something new about yourself, and do something you could never have seen yourself doing.

Allows for Any Skill Level

Hiking doesn’t require you to have any specific abilities or skills. All you need is your gear, some hiking shoes, and a thirst for adventure. There are plenty of trails to choose from in San Diego, offering different levels of experience and physical ability. If you’ve never gone hiking before, the group leader will consider that. Also, you don’t need to be a peak physical fitness in order to enjoy this therapy. It’s an easy exercise that can help you get in shape over time.

If you love the great outdoors and have a thirst for adventure, hiking therapy may be perfect for you. Hiking therapy can also be a great way to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. If you want to try a new form of therapy or add something that complements other forms of therapy, hiking therapy can add a fantastic element. Hiking is a great way to improve physical fitness and can promote healing for those who are in addiction recovery. Hiking therapy is one of the many therapies we offer at Villa Oasis San Diego. We are lucky to have our rehab center so close to San Diego’s beautiful wilderness. If you’re interested in learning more about hiking therapy and how it can help with substance use disorder and mental health, call us today at (323) 739-8673. We’re here to help.