If recovering from alcohol or drug addiction, regular hiking can speed up the process.
Research from the past two decades suggest that outdoor behavioral healthcare offers several benefits to those dealing with addiction. Most importantly, recovering addicts who stay indoors tend to feel lonely and bored, common triggers for substance abuse and relapses.
In contrast, getting outdoors helps free addicts from harmful thoughts and desires. There's also the added benefit of improved mental and physical health that comes from walking, making recovery easier.
When hiking is done with others - as is the case in wilderness therapy programs - addicts can connect with other people and develop friendships that are a necessary part of recovery. In that sense, hiking itself doesn't cause recovery, but it is an activity whose components (being outside, being in nature, being with others) lend themselves perfectly to helping the addict battle his disease.
Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.