8 Benefits of Camping
How long has it been since you last woke up and just laid there, listening to the birds chirp? Since you took a stroll through the woods without anywhere to be at a certain time? Most likely, it’s been far too long, and now you’re starting to feel the effects of constantly living under stress and anxiety.
With the daily grind taking its toll, it’s important to carve out time to get away and relax, especially if it involves camping. As an activity that promotes better sleep patterns, improves mental dexterity, and reduces stress, camping is a great way to increase your quality of life. Here are just a handful of reasons why you should plan a getaway sometime soon.
1. Stress Reduction
Stress is a constant companion for nearly all of us, but unfortunately, it’s also one of our greatest enemies. As a leading cause of heart disease, weight gain, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, depression, stroke, (do I need to continue?) and much more, finding a way to reduce stress is vitally important. However, that can be hard to do when it pops up in both good and bad occasions, such as planning a wedding or changing jobs. The little things, like bill payments, can also stack up to create stress in your life.
While camping doesn’t put a hold on rent payments or phone bills, it does give you a break from various appointments and deadlines. Not only that, you just simply won’t have access to many of the things that create stress in your life. Road rage and long lines are just a few of the things that you’ll be able to leave behind, as you reset and take some time to enjoy the peace and quiet.
2. Getting Vitamin D
Those of us who live farther away from the equator are going to struggle to get our daily dose of vitamin D. In winter, levels are bound to get too low, especially if we spend most of our daylight hours in an office somewhere. I know this first hand because I’m currently sitting at my desk in mid-January feeling somewhat depressed by the gray skies and cold temperatures!
In fact, it’s estimated that around 25-50 percent of the US population suffers from vitamin D deficiency. That means it’s highly likely that you need more of it too, and without it, your bone, heart, and intestinal health will suffer.
Supplements can help, but the single best way to get vitamin D is by soaking up the sun. Since camping puts you under those natural rays, you’ll be giving your body exactly what it’s been craving. Just remember that you can have too much of a good thing, so be sure to apply sunscreen regularly throughout the day.
3. Get Away From Pollution
Live in or near a city? Chances are the air isn’t as pure as it looks. For example, some studies have shown an increase in morbidity rate among drivers and people who live close to major roadways. Pollution generated by motor vehicles is believed to be the cause, but ultimately, that’s only a small part of the picture. Furnaces and city construction account for roughly 70 percent of the particulate matter found in the air. They might not be visible most of the time, but these particles are one of the leading causes of breathing related health issues in the US and other major urban settings.
It should go without saying, but your lungs are desperately craving a few nights in the pure, natural air. When you escape to a campsite located far away from any major city, you’ll notice a big change in how the environment feels. Trees and other vegetation are constantly working to remove pollutants from the air, in addition to exchanging carbon dioxide with oxygen. All of this extra oxygen will actually make you feel happier as well, since it promotes the release of serotonin inside your body.
4. Disconnect From Tech
I don’t know about you, but my phone is the last thing in my hand at night, and the first thing I grab in the morning. From there, it’s just a constant progression of being on my computer for work, wearing my earbuds while I exercise, watching TV during dinner, and so on.
We say it’s all for convenience and entertainment, but the constant stimulation is wearing us out and increasing rates of anxiety and depression. It’s not an exaggeration to say that we’ve become slaves to dings and buzzes as push notifcations pop up on our phones.
You might feel like you’re on withdrawal at first, but camping is a great way to reset your mind and body. Depending on where you find yourself, you may not have access to WiFi or cell service at all, unless you feel like driving to a local town. Not to mention, you’ll want to keep your phone use to a minimum, to keep the battery from dying before you find a power source.
Exercise is unavoidable when you’re camping, even if it only comes in the form of carrying your gear to the campsite and pitching your tent. But aside from that, hopefully you feel a little motivation to explore your surroundings as well! Whether you’re checking out some local hiking trails, going for a swim in the lake, or climbing a tree, there are plenty of opportunities to get your heart pumping.
Staying active is a well known contributor to good health. Not only will it help you shed the pounds, it will also improve your mental health by reducing anxiety and depression. And on the more physical side of things, studies have proven that exercise reduces the risk of certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
The concept of grounding is often associated with the more mystical side of nature lovers. After all, it’s a method that many use in order to feel connected to the earth. However, there are actually some physical benefits that you can receive by standing barefoot on the ground as well.
Like a giant battery, our planet is constantly emitting a negative charge. This is primarily why electrical systems need to be “grounded,” in order to stay functional and safe. But did you know that you also create an electric charge? When you place your bare feet on the earth, you become grounded just like any other electrical system. In the process, you’ll receive a flow of negative ions, which can improve your health by neutralizing free radicals in your body. In a clinical trial, participants also reported a reduction in pain, lower stress levels, and improved cardiovascular health.
Walking barefoot and sleeping on the ground are some of the best ways to get grounded. But, if these don’t really appeal to you, a few companies have made chairs, mattresses, and blankets that provide the same effect..
7. Overcome New Challenges
It’s easy for me to lose track of what day it is when they all start to feel the same. Every morning starts with a shower and breakfast before I go to work, come home, exercise, eat dinner, read a book, and go to bed. If you asked me how I knew it was Thursday instead of Monday, I’d tell you it was because I happened to glance at the calendar at the bottom of my computer screen.
Routines are good and have their place, but a lack of new experiences can dull your mind. Facing new challenges keeps your brain healthy, but it can be hard to find these within the pattern of our daily lives. Since camping is so different from what you would normally encounter, it’s a great way to refresh your mind by exposing yourself to new problems that need to be solved.
8. Reboot Your Circadian Rhythm
The term “circadian rhythm” can refer to any process that occurs within yourself and responds to your environment. The sleep-wake cycle is the most widely known circadian rhythm, and it’s primarily governed by light, though there are other factors at play as well.
You’ve likely heard of melatonin, which is a hormone that facilitates the transition from wakefulness to sleep, and vice versa. In fact, you may even take melatonin supplements to help you fall asleep. Your body creates this hormone when you’re surrounded by darkness, but exposure to blue light suppresses its production, effectively throwing your sleep-wake cycle out of whack. So as you might imagine, sitting in front of a screen before going to bed is one of the worst things you can do.
To get your body back on track, it’s vital that you make an effort to limit your time in front of these blue light emitters. And the great thing about camping is that it forces you to do just that. Just make sure you get yourself a good sleeping bag, otherwise you’ll be up all night for a different reason!