Understand the benefits of outdoor activities on the road to recovery

Outdoor activities encourage sobriety and improve physical, mental and emotional health.

The outdoors is a great place to find healing and a better understanding of yourself. A scenic hike on a mountain trail, resting by a peaceful river, or gazing at a vast landscape can bring a sense of tranquility to a stressed and anxious person.

Spring is right around the corner in Flagstaff, bringing new opportunities for outdoor adventure therapy to play a part in someone’s journey to sobriety. Outdoor adventure therapy can be extremely beneficial for people struggling with addiction. Outdoor therapy shapes new pathways for self-reflection that can boost cognitive function, minimize stress, improve self-esteem, and most importantly, decrease relapse triggers such as loneliness and boredom. Outdoor therapy is another tool to help you on the road to recovery. It is important to remember that outdoor therapy by itself will not stop an addiction disorder, but time spent in nature will create better health for you and promote values ​​that will help you understand and deal with addiction. addiction. Spending time outdoors benefits those recovering.

Benefits of the outdoors during recovery

Recovery is a never-ending journey and requires a multi-faceted approach that focuses on a person’s mental, physical and emotional health. Outdoor activity holistically benefits people in recovery by helping them reduce depression, improve physical fitness, enrich sleep, improve cognitive function, increase relationship building, and reduce their risk of relapse.

Outdoor activities provide recovering individuals with new environments and challenges to deal with triggers that can cause a relapse. Adventure activities create difficult situations that you must overcome. It’s liberating for many people when they realize the physical feats they can accomplish without the use of substances. The goal of outdoor therapy is to show recovering people that they can get out and move. The exercise doesn’t have to be extremely difficult; any outdoor activity can help reduce the risk of relapse. A 2019 study by Leanne Martin at the University of Plymouth found that simple exposure to greenery reduced cravings, regardless of activity intensity.

In short, recovering individuals should seek out outdoor activities. Any activity will benefit you and help you find new outlets to deal with addiction.

Exercise with nature

Outdoor adventure activities are a great alternative to working out in a gym, and they can provide some benefits that indoor spaces cannot. Being outdoors is good for you. Exercising outdoors means someone breathes fresh air and absorbs vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D boosts immune system functions, making it an essential vitamin for recovering individuals who often have weakened immune systems. Regular use of opioids and other substances destroys the function of the immune system, which increases the likelihood of infections and other illnesses. A recovering person who goes outdoors will be healthier and their immune system will become stronger as a result.

Boredom is a pervasive problem for people in recovery and is a common reason for relapse. Finding a new hobby can be a powerful weapon to use in the fight against relapses and the outdoors is a great place to find new hobbies. Skiing, mountain biking, hiking, fishing and photography are great ways to get out. A person who gets out and spends time with nature will begin to feel less anxious and less stressed. Reducing stress is the goal of the outdoor experience. High stress situations create conditions conducive to relapse. On going out, a person may feel fulfilled by completing a task without using substances. The outdoors is a powerful recovery tool.

Creates new outlets for support

A support group of friends and family members is essential for anyone struggling with addiction. Everyone needs someone to help them on their healing journey. Addiction is often a strain on families and friends. Sometimes the people closest to an addict think the only way to help them is to shut them out of their lives. When a person begins to recover, mending broken relationships can benefit that person. A great way to start mending fractured relationships is to date the recovering person. Walking, hiking, biking, or even fishing together can build new bonds of trust and establish pathways of responsibility for the person in recovery. Outdoor activities are just one more tool to reconnect with the people you love and find a way to build a new relationship in sobriety.

The benefits of spending time outdoors are proven and nature should be a factor in a person’s addiction treatment plan. Outdoor activities encourage sobriety and improve physical, mental and emotional health. A short walk, some gardening, or even a long rafting trip will get the person out of the house, into nature, and enjoying all the benefits that the outdoors provide. NBF

By Roy DuPrez

Roy DuPrez is the owner and founder of Back2Basics. Back2Basics is an adventure recovery program, up to six months, for young adult men ages 18-30 with substance abuse issues seeking a positive and meaningful life. In our program, clients are exposed to a weekly combination of wilderness adventures and residential programs. For more information, visit back2basicsoutdooradventures.com, call 928-814-2220, or email [email protected]