Hike Your Way to Better Health

It can be difficult to get active when we first achieve sobriety. We often cared little about our physical and mental health when we living with addiction, but sobriety gives us a chance to finally turn our attention to our health and happiness. Working out can feel tedious, but we can find ways to get active that allow us to have fun and take in the beauty of nature.
Hiking may be one of the most effective and engaging ways to get active. Not only does it improve our physical health, but there are many mental health benefits as well. As we enter into a life of sobriety, we will find that our journey of recovery is much easier when we focus on improving our health.
The physical benefits of hiking are numerous. It helps us strengthen our core, build bone density, build strength in our glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, hips, and legs, and helps manage our weight. It can also be a great preventative measure against common health problems. Hiking can lower our risk of heart disease and improve our blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Another great thing about hiking is the variation of the exercise. Dr. Aaron L. Baggish, associate director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, in a 2016 Harvard Heart Letter by Julie Corliss entitled Health Benefits of Hiking: Raise Your Heart Rate and Your Mood, explained, “The nice thing about hiking is that it exists along an entire continuum, from a gentle walk on a flat wooded path to mountain climbing,” and everyone, regardless of age or activity, can benefit from the activity.
The true value of hiking, however, comes from its amazing effects on mental health. Hiking has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as increase creativity and problem-solving skills. Abigail Wise, in a 2017 Huffington Post article entitled Proof that Hiking Makes You Happier and Healthier, explains, “Research shows that using hiking as an additional therapy can help people with severe depression feel less hopeless, depressed and suicidal. It may even inspire those suffering from it to lead a more active lifestyle.” Spending time outdoors has also been shown  to increase attention span and problem-solving skills by up to 50 percent. When we take up hiking, we will find that our physical and mental health improve dramatically, making for a much happier journey of recovery.

Oceanfront Recovery, a licensed dual diagnosis treatment center in the heart of beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with caring and compassionate professionals dedicated to providing perfect environment for men and women to begin the process of healing from addiction. The Residential Program at Oceanfront offers a variety of treatment methodologies and activities, including hiking, yoga, meditation, equine therapy, and many more. For information about the Residential Program or other individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777