Can Hiking Combat Depression?

depression therapy in Charlotte, NCWith the weather cooling down and the leaves changing color, many people are drawn outside into nature. Enthusiasts strapping on their hiking boots and backpacks and trading the beach for the mountains is a sure sign that fall is in full swing. New research shows that getting outside for a 90-minute hike can have a significant impact on your mental health and well-being. The same study also found that spending time hiking decreases negative or obsessive thoughts. While we all know that regular exercise is good for us, what is it about hiking that makes it particularly beneficial for keeping depression at bay? If you're consistently sad or upset, get help at Legacy Freedom. We offer the best depression therapy in Charlotte, NC.

  • Hiking can increase your mindfulness.  It's hard to get a cell signal in the mountains. Unplugging from social media, technology, or the constant stream of work e-mails can have a significant impact on your mental health. Fewer mental stressors, distractions, and less noise allow you to focus on your thoughts and feelings. Disconnecting from technology and escaping the constant noise of an urban environment helps reduce the mental fatigue and demand on cognitive functions which can lead to depression.
  • Hiking can improve brain power. The mind and body are connected, and hiking is an excellent source of aerobic exercise. Researchers from The University of British Columbia found that aerobic exercise increases the hippocampal volume in study participants. In the brain, the hippocampus is associated with episodic memory as well as spatial memory. Aerobic exercise also leads to a release of endorphins and a reduction in stress and anxiety.
  • You can decrease rumination through hiking. Repetitive thoughts that center on negative emotions can increase the likelihood of depression. Rumination on these repetitive negative thoughts is interrupted by hiking's effect on the brain's activity. During a hike, the activity in the area of the brain that fosters these negative thoughts and emotions is significantly decreased.

Getting started with hiking is easy. Choose sturdy hiking shoes that will be appropriate for the terrain you are covering. Layer weather appropriate clothing, pack sunscreen, sunglasses, water and a hat. Some people may find it helpful to use trekking poles to cover more uneven ground or to help provide stability. Poles can also reduce knee stress and improve speed. Start with small, local hikes to build up your endurance. There are some hiking apps available for your smartphone, and you can find a variety of trail maps online.

If hitting the trail isn't helping with your depression, it's time to reach out for help. At Legacy Freedom, we know that talking about your depression is difficult. However, untreated depression will not get better on its own and can lead to more severe forms of depression and even to suicide. Our holistic approach to mental health care puts you at the center of attention, not your depression. Keep reading to learn more.

Alternative Depression Therapy in Charlotte, NC For Women

At Legacy Freedom of Charlotte NC, we understand the mental health struggles that women face. Whether you have put off seeking help for a sexual assault or are battling the post-baby blues, we can help. Our dedicated team of professionals works with you to develop a care plan focused on you, not your mental health concerns. Utilizing a holistic approach that combines non-traditional therapies with traditional talk therapy and diet and exercise allows us to treat your mind, body, and spirit.

Call or click today to learn more about our holistic approach to depression therapy in Charlotte, NC. Learn how you can take back control of your life with Legacy Freedom.

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