This is Your Brain on Nature: 9 Health Benefits of Camping Everyone Should Know
We all know how fun it can be to wake up in the great outdoors or let the campfire warm our faces, but did you know that there are tons of great health benefits of camping?
As if you needed an excuse for your next camping trip!
Whether you’re traveling in an RV, hitching a pop-up trailer, or pitching a tent, nature can sometimes be a better healer than anything you’d find on the pharmacy shelves.
The benefits of being outside are amazing. Fresh air, luscious green plants, and a peaceful escape from the loud city noises are just a few of the things you can look forward to.
Here are all of the health benefits of camping you can expect to experience, and even more proof that camping is the best activity ever!
1. Stress Relief
One of the health benefits of trees is a natural de-stressing system that can put you at ease and help lower your blood pressure.
Trees release oxygen. The more oxygen you take in, the more you release serotonin, which makes you feel happy. In addition, when you breathe in more oxygen, your body experiences less strain.
It’s as easy as that. Breathe in the fresh outdoor air and you can start to forget about some of your worries- even if it is just until you head back to reality.
2. Peace of Mind
In addition to stress relief, you can achieve a peace of mind when they spend time in the outdoors because it allows you to escape the responsibilities of your daily life.
This provides you with a meditative experience. You can clear your mind and focus on what you’re experiencing in the current time, at the current moment.
It’s important to experience peace of mind once in awhile because it helps to bring you back to a place of clarity and calmness. You’ll find this will help with your mood, as well as your ability to relax and sleep at night.
3. Resetting Your Body Clock
Studies have shown that sleeping outdoors can reset your biological clock because your body becomes in tune with natural light-dark patterns.
Electric light can delay or alter your natural circadian clock. But when you’re exposed to natural light cycles, your circadian clock adjusts and synchronizes to the sunrise and sunset.
For those of us who aren’t biologists, that means that our body syncs up with the sunrise and the sunset. It helps us to get back to a healthy pattern of going to sleep and waking up at decent times to get the most out of our day.
4. Increased Vitamin D Intake
The benefits of being outside all day in the sunshine mean that you get more natural vitamin D from the sun’s rays.
It’s important to be careful about spending too much time in the direct sunlight. The sun is at its hottest from 9am to 3pm, but being exposed to the less intense sunlight outside of those hours will give you the vitamin D your body needs.
Always be sure to wear sunscreen, a hat, and proper sunglasses anytime you’re in the sun!
5. Reduced Symptoms of PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety
According to some researchers, being in a “green space” can decrease symptoms of depression, PTSD, and anxiety by up to 71%.
The stress relief and open air is vital to your mental health because it helps to make you feel stronger, happier, and more relaxed.
Vitamin D is also linked to mental illness, particularly depression. One study found that there is a strong presence of vitamin D deficiency in those who suffer from depression. So the more time you spend outside, the more you could help ease these symptoms.
6. Challenges That Keep the Mind Sharp
Camping and being outside presents many natural problem solving situations.
Whether it’s maneuvering your canoe around a rock or figuring out how to set up your brand new tent, there are always unexpected situations you have to handle.
It keeps your mind sharp because the problems or situations are never the same. That means there is no opportunity for your brain to become accustomed to one situation or another, and it’s always working to figure things out in new ways.
7. Real Food… Sometimes
Sure, most of us love to pack our favorite candy, chips, and snacks for the trip. And we can’t forget about the marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate for s’mores!
When you camp, processed food items are impractical, and there’s certainly no fast food chain nearby. You’re limited to what you can cook on the fire or the barbeque, and that’s a good thing!
Packing healthy snacks like trail mix and granola bars is also a great way to get some nutrition in on your hike or other outdoor activities.
8. Physical Exercise
Did you know that hiking can burn anywhere from 120 to 300 calories per hour? And that’s just one of the many physical activities people commonly enjoy while camping.
Even if you don’t participate in hiking or outdoor sports, the benefits of walking outside are great for your body. You don’t need to go very far or climb up a mountain to enjoy easy, casual exercise in a natural setting.
Just walking to the washroom, cutting up firewood, or setting up your tent can use enough energy to give you those physical benefits.
9. Valuable Socialization
In addition to all of these amazing health benefits of camping, there are also tons of social camping benefits you can experience.
Sure, you can socialize in your everyday life, but in today’s world socialization doesn’t always mean the same thing. We spend a lot of time emailing, texting, or interacting on Facebook. And when we do meet up in person, sometimes it can be rushed or in a busy, distracting setting, like a restaurant.
The social benefits of camping with friends are much more enriching because you get to spend time away from all of the gadgets and distractions. You’ll get to really talk to your friends and spend quality time with them.
Studies have also shown that socialization can extend your lifespan, as well as improve brain function and memory loss.
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