Is Hiking Good Exercise to Care for Your Body When Recovering from an Opiate Addiction?

As you work through the steps of recovery, you\’re likely to struggle with symptoms of withdrawal. Early symptoms can include watery eyes, agitation, and aches and pains. Getting your body moving and stretching can help you reduce the impact of withdrawal. Getting some sun can boost your spirit and warm your skin. Walking with a pack can put your muscles under a little pressure and help you rebuild your strength. Is hiking good exercise to care for your body when recovering from opiate addiction? Yes, if you remember to take breaks and monitor your energy level.

Hiking can be done vigorously or slowly. If you\’re especially tired, pick a gentle trail. Get some sun, soak up some Vitamin D, and carry water so you can stay hydrated. Use a timer if you need it to remind you to sit down, remove your shoes and let your toes dry out once an hour. Carry a picnic blanket so you can stretch out if you need to while your feet dry out. Then you can continue, or simply turn around and head back down the trail.

Intention on the Long Loop Trail

When you\’re feeling stronger, consider packing a healthy picnic lunch and finding a long loop trail. You\’ll likely need a pack, a hat, some sunscreen and possibly walking sticks. Set the timer on your phone so you remember to take a break on a long loop trail; you don\’t need blisters. As you choose your trail, consider the view you can enjoy while you sit down with your lunch. Focus on the big goal or view at the height of the trail, and remember to savor the view as you take your breaks.

Hike with intention. What are you looking for? Will there be wildlife to enjoy? Is there a water feature along the trail that may draw birds for you to enjoy? If you have access, consider carrying binoculars for a longer look. Take your time, check out the scenery, and take breaks when you need them. Consider carrying a journal or a notebook that you can use to jot down ideas or thoughts that crop up as you hike. Walking is a habit; it\’s something that we can do without having to think about it. As you engage in habitual behaviors, your creative brain can get spinning. Writing on your breaks can boost this creative brain.

Enjoy every bite of your picnic. Whether you\’re hiking alone or with a partner, you can enjoy each mouthful of your sandwich and each sip of water. Eat mindfully, taking the time to carefully chew and swallow each morsel. Feel the nourishment moving through your system. Try to include foods that are high in antioxidants at each meal, such as

  • oranges and grapefruit
  • dark leafy greens, and
  • berries

to support the health of your cleansing organs, particularly your liver and kidneys. While the early days of opiate withdrawal are more manageable on a bland diet to reduce stomach upset, your body is likely craving food that is high in nutritional density. As your stomach feels better, strive for small meals of highly nutritious foods.

Once you\’ve eaten, clean up carefully. Pack up dishes to be washed and put your garbage in available containers, or pack it out if needed. Crack open another bottle of water before you start back down the trail. If you gained any altitude on the way up, consider loosening the ties of your hiking shoes on the way down to accommodate any swelling.

Once you\’re home, revel in the tiredness you may feel in your muscles. Enjoy a long warm shower and scrub away the perspiration. Consider using a mint or eucalyptus scented soap to maintain the feeling of freshness you enjoyed on the trail. Carefully check out your feet to make sure you didn\’t develop any blisters, and lotion them thoroughly to keep them healthy so you\’re ready for your next hike.

Your addiction recovery program will take time. Opiates are easy to fall into and very hard to put down. Your path can be managed but you are not on your own. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 833-610-1174.

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