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There are many different ways in which people improve their overall mental well-being. For example, some individuals make healthier life changes by attending therapy or support group meetings and utilizing evidence-based modalities. However, there are other ways for people to improve their mental health, including exercising, eating healthy, or keeping a gratitude journal. Along with some of these practices, another excellent way to improve mental health is being outdoors. With that in mind, what better way to be outside than by taking nature walks? 

Research has shown that nature walks can improve physical and mental health for many individuals. That includes those recovering from substance use disorder (SUD) or other mental health conditions. For those still skeptical of the power of a walk outdoors, continue reading to learn how nature walking can help you today. 

Holistic Mental Health Treatment

The path to improved mental health should not be rigid, as different methods are conducive to individual needs. For that reason, many mental health professionals implement alternative therapies into their treatment plans. How can this be done effectively, though? Well, professionals nowadays understand the vitality of offering individualized and holistic treatment to their clients. 

A holistic approach to mental health or addiction treatment is a whole-person approach. In short, a holistic, whole-person approach to treatment does not solely treat the condition; it treats the mind, body, and soul of each client in tandem.

Most treatments are essentially more effective when they combine evidence-based and holistic practices. For instance, West Coast Recovery Centers offers a diverse curriculum of traditional and holistic modalities designed to meet the needs of each client that works through our doors. 

Holistic treatment is tailored to an individual’s unique needs and goals for recovery. For some, it includes a carefully structured regiment of talk therapies in combination with mindfulness practices like yoga. Others may prefer to focus on their individual and group therapies, while a few are drawn toward creative expression. Whatever the case, the most effective care plan should resonate with the client. So, where do nature walks come into play? 

Nature Walks and the Benefits of the Outdoors

Even individuals in the peak of mental and physical health can benefit from spending more time outdoors. Unfortunately, many do not realize the benefits of being outdoors. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) claims that “being outside in green spaces supports an active and healthy lifestyle.” According to them, this can aid in mental and physical wellness. More specifically, spending time outside can: 

  • Improve sleep quality
  • Increase life expectancy 
  • Reduce the risk of cancer 
  • Increase motivation
  • Improve health through physical activity 
  • Reduce stress 
  • Strengthen focus and attention 
  • Offer the chance for social connection 

Over time, nature therapy has become increasingly popular for individuals with mental health disorders. Essentially, nature therapy uses the outdoors to promote healing and wellness. Research indicates being outside can decrease conditions like depression and improve mental well-being. 

While our focus today is nature walks, nature therapy includes an abundance of activities such as wilderness exploration, adventure and animal therapy, and outdoor meditation and yoga practices. Spending time outdoors helps us practice mindfulness and focus on our well-being. Meanwhile, regarding walking outside, though, there is an added physical benefit. 

Walk Your Way to Better Health With Nature Walks

The research is clear – spending time outside is critical to optimal mental health. Individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, substance use, and other mental health conditions should seriously consider getting outside more. That can be done effectively by picking any number of hobbies, ranging from hiking to gardening. Walking, however, has an added benefit – improved health. 

Individuals who take nature walks regularly experience an increase in positive mood and a decrease in negative emotions. Walking as a physical activity is also excellent for exercise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “A single bout of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity can improve sleep, memory, and the ability to think and learn.” They also indicate it can reduce anxiety symptoms. 

Research indicates many other physical benefits of walking, including: 

  • Improved mood 
  • Maintained healthy weight 
  • Strengthened bones and muscles 
  • Reduced risk of physical health conditions, most notably high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes

Nature walks must be exceptionally beneficial if these are solely the benefits of walking. In combination, nature walks are the perfect way for people to: 

  • Clear their heads 
  • Practice mindfulness 
  • Get in some physical activity 
  • Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety 
  • Avoid triggers and cravings and abstain from substance use  

Exposure to Nature at West Coast Recovery Centers

Consider the benefits of nature walks if you struggle with addiction or other mental health conditions. You may find that adding a 15-minute outdoor walk to your daily routine can be a viable way to stay happy, healthy, and sober. 

For those still struggling with their mental health or are living in active addiction, we encourage you to seek treatment. West Coasts San Diego facility is a serene place filled with compassionate individuals who can help you recover and gain healthy exposure to nature today. 

Did you know that spending time outside and walking can improve your mental and physical health? This includes reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress, maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing the risk of physical health conditions like heart disease or diabetes. Walking outdoors can also help individuals recover and stay sober from long-term substance use. Who would have known that a quick 15-minute walk outside can help with so many areas of life? For these reasons, we encourage you to consider taking frequent nature walks to improve your mental health and overall well-being. To learn more about the benefits of nature walks or seek treatment for your mental health or addiction, call (760) 492-6509 today. 

West Coast Recovery Centers ( 370135CP), Valid through July 31, 2025
Jackson House Visalia (540056AP), Valid through May 15, 2025
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