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How Water is used in Adventure Therapy

Water is Essential to Life

Leonardo da Vinci said, “Water is the driving force in nature.” Time spent in any type of natural setting can be healing and spending time around water can benefit your physical and mental health in ways of which you may not even be aware. Water comprises most of the earth and most of the human body, with the earth being around 71% water and humans being 50-60% water.

Water keeps us alive and also provides innumerable benefits to our overall health. Whether you are participating in activities directly in water or around water, you are sure to gain even more benefits and tools to help in your recovery and sobriety.

Mental Health and Water

According to Wallace Nichols, a marine biologist, “…the mere sight and sound of water can induce a flood of neurochemicals that promote wellness, increase blood low to the brain and heart and induce relaxation.” Water is one of the basic elements of earth. It was obviously around long before technology and even any civilizations. Interaction with water connects us something essential for all life.

As we live in increasingly urbanized places and rely on technology, our mental health takes a toll. When you can take time away from that and go to water, you go back to something basic and elemental to life. This can allow for reflection and a sense of peace away from the non-stop pressure of daily life.

While being around water may be most helpful, it’s also beneficial to listen to water sounds to relax or sleep. Physical and mental health are separate, but obviously deeply intertwined. It is important to keep both running well to create a positive cycle. Engaging in water based adventure therapy is a great way to reap the benefits of water and nature and improve your health. In an effort to maintain sobriety, the importance of mental health cannot be stressed enough.

Types of Water Recreation

One great thing about many types of water recreation, is they can be solitary or in a small group setting. This can add to the peaceful aspects and can allow for self-reflection, which is important to therapy and recovery. As water provides a sense of calm, you may find it easier to shut out the noise and even possibly engage in meditation which helps to reduce stress and anxiety.

Some popular water recreation activities include: swimming, surfing, kayaking, and canoeing. An especially positive aspect of many of these activities is that they are low-impact, while still providing excellent cardiovascular exercise. These are activities that can be solitary and allow for much needed internal reflection, particularly when you want to feel connected with nature as a way to heal.

Kayaking and canoeing can be done in groups and can be a peaceful and intimate way for people to develop closer relationships. Rivers and lakes are often quiet, which can allow for deeper conversations and group reflection. Water recreation is also a wonderful way to explore new places. Traveling and seeing new places can help reduce stress and improve your mood. It’s certainly not a magic fix when exploring nature, but you are helping your mental health than you may think.

Arizona and Water Recreation

Arizona is an incredibly diverse state with a vast number of options for water recreation. You can challenge yourself with white river rafting trip down the Colorado River, enjoy a more peaceful ride on an inner tube down the Salt River, cliff-dive from various places including Sedona, and enjoy kayaking or canoeing in Prescott lakes among many other options.

These are only a few of the many options you can find and they are all either relatively cheap or even free. They provide fantastic ways to challenge yourself and boost your mood. In Sedona, for example, you often will need to hike to wherever you will cliff-dive. These hikes can vary from and easy to a more grueling hike that will push your body to the limits.

Prescott also has a number of lakes where you can partake in water recreation without necessarily getting in the water. There are many beautiful hiking trails, which you can also bike, as well as lakes where you can fish. They are also good places for sitting and spending time simply reflecting. Wherever this is done, being near water outdoors is of course another way to expose yourself to Vitamin D. If you do want to get on the water, you can try cheap options like renting kayaks, canoes, or paddle-boats. Goldwater, Watson and Lynx Lake are some of the wonderful lakes available to us here to do that.

Close to Prescott, there are trails we take day-trips to including Beaver Creek. It is a hike that provides a solid workout, but you don’t have to be an avid hike to complete. It is open year-round, but if you do go during the warm season you can enjoy cool water at the end as well as a bit of cliff-diving.

Water And Recovery

Whether done individually or in small groups, water recreation can be an incredible tool in substance abuse recovery. According to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine, “Interactions with nature can facilitate social interactions with adults…foster social empowerment…and promote social cohesion and support.” Since recovery is difficult, it is important to surround yourself with strong social support. Water recreation is a way to engage nature, build vital social relationships, and continually gain new ways to maintain sobriety.

*Resources:
Health benefits of being by water – Quartz
What are the Benefits of Interacting with Nature? – NIH