Want to get healthy this year? The solution isn’t staying home. Rather, it’s all about getting out into the natural world where you belong.
Our bodies weren’t designed to sit inside all day, breathing in synthetic air, staring at screens, and not getting any exercise. They were designed for movement, exploration, fresh air, sunshine, and a fair dose of fun.
And that’s exactly why you should be going on a camping trip multiple times throughout the year. Not only is it a fun way to connect with friends and family, but the health benefits of camping will work wonders on your physical and mental health.
Need an excuse to take a long weekend soon? Read on below to discover some of the most important healthy camping benefits, so you can justify spending more time outside than ever before.
1. Take a Deep Breath
Americans spend an average of 90% of their time indoors. From your home to the office, the grocery store, to the restaurant, we have become indoor creatures in the last few decades.
But studies show that the air inside our homes can be much more polluted than the air outside, even in big cities. Our homes are full of chemicals, building materials, and allergens that are negatively impacting our health without us even realizing it. These indoor pollutants can increase the risk of respiratory and heart diseases and even cancer.
But when you go camping and spend a few days inhaling nothing but fresh air, your body will thank you. There are many benefits of fresh air.
Increased oxygen flow in your body can improve digestion. Low levels of pollutants can lower blood pressure and heart rate. You’ll have a stronger immune system. And you’ll feel more energetic and motivated.
2. Soak Up the Sun
With the right camping gear, you can spend time outdoors year-round. But most of the time, you’ll naturally head out when the sun is shining.
And that’s a good thing as our bodies and minds need sunlight regularly, to perform at their best. Sunlight is most widely known for its ability to improve mood.
It does this by releasing serotonin in your body; the feel-good chemical. This reduces your risk or symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Sunlight on your skin also provides you with much-needed vitamin D, which can boost bone, muscle, and heart health.
3. Getting Exercise
Most people don’t go camping to get a workout. But exercise comes naturally in many different ways.
Hiking is one of the most common activities while camping. Whether you are car camping at a local state park or backpacking deep into the wilderness, there are almost always hiking trails nearby for you to explore. So pack your hiking boots and bring a small daypack to carry with you on your walks.
There are plenty of other fun camping activities that will give you work your body, help you build muscle, and increase blood flow. Paddling or swimming at the nearby lake, bringing your bicycles, and even climbing a tree are all great ways to boost your physical health.
4. A Good Nights’ Sleep
Quality sleep is one of the most important factors of a healthy body. When our bodies get enough sleep, they are allowed to recharge properly.
Those deprived of sleep can struggle with a lack of concentration, mood swings, and an increased risk of diseases and complications.
But camping can provide you with a unique opportunity to get really good sleep. Since you’re outdoors, not dealing with artificial light, your body will reset its internal clock, helping you to feel tired once the sun goes down.
And if you know how to sleep in a tent, you can get quite comfortable and sleep all night long. The sounds of nature will lull you to sleep, but packing along earplugs may be ideal if you are camping near other groups.
Without an alarm clock to wake you up, your body should be able to get the full amount of sleep that it needs or help you catch up on the sleep you’ve been missing.
5. Connect With Nature
Most people have lost their connection with nature. But studies have shown time and again that time spent in nature, whether in green space or near large bodies of water, helps us in many different ways.
One of the main reasons to go camping is to simply surround yourself with nature.
For example, studies show that children with green space near their schools experience higher levels of cognitive development than those who don’t. Green space near home promotes great self-control.
From the sights of the trees and mountains to the sounds of the birds and the wind to the scent of pine needles in the air, all that nature has to offer can improve our ability to focus, help us feel happier, and experience a deeper sense of meaning and purpose.
6. Relax and Unwind
Stress is a real killer. And we all feel it. Our schedules are busy, our bank balances are low, our debt is high, and our boss is demanding. Not to mention the kids are destroying the house, and the dog is eating the furniture.
But learning how to manage and lower stress is crucial. Stress leads to many physical problems, from headaches to stomach aches to high blood pressure and sleep deprivation. It’s estimated that most adult visits to the doctor are caused by stress-related ailments.
So how can you fight stress and reclaim your life? Learn how to relax.
Wondering how to relax? Go camping. As often as possible.
Camping allows you to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Even though you can’t escape your responsibilities and worries, you can turn them off for a period of time and live in the moment.
When you are camping, there is no pressure to perform or be productive. You can simply lay in a hammock, read a book, go for a walk, take a nap, and do whatever else your heart and body need at that moment so that stress melts away.
7. Have Fun
We all want to have more fun. But many people feel that fun is a luxury. Most people feel that they don’t have enough time to have fun on a regular basis.
But fun is crucial to a healthy body and mind and to a productive life.
Fun helps with many of the factors listed above. It can help reduce stress, improve your mood by releasing serotonin, and feel more energetic and enthusiastic about life.
If you want to be a good parent, spouse, employee, or boss, you need to schedule regular bits of fun in your life. And camping is one of the best ways to have fun.
8. No Screen Time
Spending time outdoors means getting away from wifi, phone signal, and electrical outlets. It’s a time when we can finally escape the screens that so often dictate our lives.
As of 2020, the average American spends more time looking at a screen each day than they do sleeping. While screens are a necessary evil, they are no doubt evil. The blue light coming from smartphones and computers can cause eye strain and long-term complications such as phototoxicity.
Too much blue light in the evening can destroy your body’s ability to fall asleep, which means your body can’t recharge or heal properly. Blue light at night is also linked to higher levels of mental health disorders.
When camping, do your best to leave your devices at home or locked up in the car.
9. Deepen Relationships
Most people go camping with friends and family. While camping alone can be beneficial in its own way, camping with others helps to deepen relationships.
Face-to-face relationships and socialization are shown to lower stress and anxiety. It can also trigger a release of dopamine, helping us to feel good and act as a natural pain killer.
The shared experiences and lengthy conversations you’ll have outdoors when camping can go a long way to boosting your long-term life satisfaction and happiness.
10. Improve Your Mood
Camping makes you feel better, period. Even if you aren’t naturally outdoorsy, spending one or two days, or even a whole week outdoors, will help you feel grounded.
The natural scenery that surrounds you can improve your mood, helping you feel a deeper sense of joy. And even if your camping experience is difficult, you’ll head home with a sense of accomplishment, feeling like you can handle anything in life.
You might be ready for your camping trip to end so you can head home, but you’ll spend the next week wishing you could get back out there.
11. Overcome Challenges
No camping trip is perfect. They are almost always ripe with challenges. But with a little tenacity and the right set of gear and camping accessories, you can always overcome.
And it’s the process of overcoming these new challenges that excite your brain. We are designed to think through problems and find solutions. Doing so is natural for our brains and can help spur creativity.
These new experiences and challenges are intellectually stimulating and boost overall brain health as a result.
Enjoy the Many Benefits of Camping
There are so many benefits of camping, both mental and physical. It’s one of the simplest forms of outdoor recreation. But just sleeping outside for a night or two can do wonders for your body and soul.
So the question remains; when are you taking your next camping trip?
If you need any help planning your trip or finding the gear you need to make it as enjoyable as possible, then check out some of the other posts on our blog today.