Benefits of Hiking for Addiction Treatment
There are countless mental and physical health benefits for staying active during and after drug rehab in Tampa that assist in overall recovery. One of the best activities is hiking. Not only does hiking increase your stamina and boost your overall energy levels, but it also allows you to clear your mind. Hiking fosters mental clarity and emotional stability, which inherently results in overall improved well-being and happiness. While hiking itself does not cure addiction, it can be one of many tools that facilitate long-lasting recovery through holistic means; hiking is a healthy way to help manage your addictive behaviors.
Hiking, along with other types of wilderness therapy, is an excellent tool for relapse prevention and is becoming more readily used and integrated into addiction treatment programs nationwide. Hiking is not a standalone treatment. While it is very beneficial in addiction recovery, it is part of a combination therapy that treats individuals on a whole-patient basis that is the most effective treatment modality type. This involves a hybrid of counseling, exercise like hiking, walking, biking, swimming, and sometimes medication-assisted treatment (MAT). These together can be the most effective means to long-lasting recovery.
For those who struggle with an underlying mental health disorder, hiking has proven to promote mental clarity and help individuals better manage their underlying condition. Those who struggle with generalized anxiety, clinical depression, or PTSD can find solace in nature through hiking. They will feel their anxiety lessen as they gain a more positive outlook on life and feel healthier overall, both mentally and physically.
Another element that hiking promotes is personal accountability, which allows you to adopt teamwork and skill-building and allow for self-control. When you are hiking, you are in charge of the pace and how long you walk. You also have to navigate and make good decisions to find your way in the woods. It is all up to you and how much you want to push yourself to better your hiking skills and level. You have to exert yourself to always better your last hike, and this is how you can continue to goal-set throughout your recovery.
Daily hiking and walking can help add structure to your day, which is a leading factor in sustained sobriety. When individuals don’t know what to do with their spare time, they are much more likely to relapse, as they get bored and are at a loss of what to do. When you have structure, especially active structure, you promote a healthy lifestyle and facilitate lasting recovery. When you have a workout plan in place, you are much more likely to adhere to it as you are setting personal goals that you would like to fulfill and exceed.
Why Nature Is Great for Sobriety
When individuals are out in nature, they breathe in the fresh air and feel the sun’s rays, which helps lower stress levels and boost endorphin levels. It clears the mind and lessens negative thoughts, promoting positive thinking and enhancing thought processes. Hiking also introduces patients to new healthy hobbies. During outdoor hikes, individuals can enjoy the walk itself, but they can also learn about the different types of trees and foliage native to the unique landscape and learn about the other unique wildlife. There is so much positivity in hiking, and recovering patients are genuinely grateful for the benefits that hiking has brought to them.
Filling free time with constructive hobbies such as hiking and trail walking avoids boredom, which often can lead to thoughts of addiction and relapse. When you are filling extra time with outdoor activities, you are working at your sobriety and are demonstrating a commitment to recovery.
With a large variety of nature preserves, forests, and lakes surrounded by wilderness, there is so much opportunity across the United States to participate in hiking therapy. Hiking and walking therapy allow individuals to stay focused on attaining their goals while also promoting calmness, and these elements are critical factors in overall recovery and sustained sobriety.
Hiking and walking therapy have proven to better mental health and help those who are struggling with a co-occurring occurring disorder. Studies have shown that those who get outside and enjoy nature have lessened signs of depression than those exposed to hectic urban city environments. Individuals’ mental health can be positively transformed by enjoying nature and outdoor activities. Getting outdoors and hiking or walking can mitigate the vicious and damaging thought process that many individuals who struggle with a mental health disorder face daily.
When you are on a hike or a walk in the forest, you are disconnecting yourself from technology, and you are enjoying everything that nature is offering you at that moment. There is so much adventure that lies within the forest and wildlife, and there is no better way to experience everything that the outdoors has to offer than on foot. There are many walking and hiking groups available that are organized through recovery communities. It is encouraged that those in recovery seek out these organizations to create new friendships with others who are going through similar struggles and have similar goals.
Hiking Promotes Building Positive New Habits
Hiking not only promotes new healthy habits and hobbies, but it also provides individuals with a greater understanding of the disease of addiction as well as understanding yourself on a deeper level. Hiking allows you to form positive habits, and hiking is something that you can continue to take part in for the rest of your life.
There are many different hiking trails for both novices and experienced hikers. The other fantastic aspect of hiking therapy is that you can always better your hiking skills. By building up your stamina, you will tackle more challenging hiking trails, which will always give you a new goal to achieve.
As you dedicate yourself to your new hiking routine, you will gradually notice your endurance increase. It is so rewarding to see your physical progress better with each hike, and over time, you will be able to tackle hiking trails that you never thought were possible at the beginning of your hiking journey. The great thing about hiking is that it does not require a significant amount of equipment. A day pack filled with water and healthy snacks along with a great pair of hiking shoes are genuinely all you need to enjoy hiking in the outdoors.
Through hiking therapy, individuals can work toward a healthier state of mind, fostering a more robust and more concrete mental state. Hiking is not only beneficial for mental clarity, but it is also simply fun and relaxing, and the physical activity that comes with it is inherently valuable.
Hikes Near Tampa
Many beautiful hiking trails in the Tampa, Florida area provide a serene and relaxing environment. Let’s take a look at some of the hiking trails available in Tampa.
Upper Tampa Bay Trail
Upper Tampa Bay Trail is a beautiful place to hike and bike. There is so much natural habitat to take in here, and the trail is home to many native birds, fish, and animals. There are various rest stops along the way for you to relax and take in the gorgeous scenery that this trail has to offer.
Lettuce Lake Park
If you are looking for the perfect spot to hike with a friend and test your stamina and endurance, Lettuce Lake Park is just the spot. The park spans over 240-acres and has several trails based on your hiking level. Elevated boardwalks make hiking a breeze, and with various lookout spots, you’ll want to bring your camera to remember the beauty that this place has to offer.
McKay Bay Nature Park
McKay Bay Nature Park boasts over 38 acres of hiking trails and nature preserve for visitors to enjoy. This spot is also known for bird watching, so be sure to pack your binoculars when you take a day trip here. If you enjoy fishing, the park also has a spot where you can drop a line. Get some friends together and enjoy everything that this nature park offers.
Flatwoods Park is just the spot if you are looking for paved biking and hiking trails. The park boasts a 7-mile loop and a number of picnic areas. There is also lots of bird watching to be enjoyed here, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for native species that call this place home.
WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab offer a full continuum of treatment options and all levels of care. Our specialists are with patients throughout each step of the recovery process, beginning with medically assisted detox through inpatient or outpatient drug rehab in Tampa, partial hospitalization programs, aftercare programs, and alumni groups.
We encourage all patients to continue their recovery by partaking in Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other 12-step programs. We believe that with ongoing support and care, individuals can reach sobriety and succeed in long-lasting abstinence from substance abuse. Having structure and a reliable support system is vital to long-term sobriety, which is why we work to coordinate aftercare programs and alumni events for our patients.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, get in touch with WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today. We have helped over 10,000 individuals reach existing sobriety, and we can help you too. There is no better time to get into rehabilitation than now, as the longer, you wait to get help, the worse your addiction will continue to accumulate. The scary reality of the disease of addiction is that there may not be a tomorrow if you continue on this dangerous and imminent path. You must get help now if you want to regain control of your life.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.