Camping to Better Health: 7 Health Benefits of Camping

Do you constantly feel stressed out and tired? Are you sick of inhaling smoke from cars in the city or not being able to spend time with your friends or family? If daily life is making you feel sicker, there’s a pretty good solution to reset your body and make you feel a whole lot happier – camping!

Now you may think that camping is just camping – what could you possibly benefit from it apart from the fact that you get to temporarily leave work behind? What health benefits could there possibly be for an activity that seems too simple to have any sort of impact on your health whatsoever?

Well…

CAMPING EXPOSES YOU TO FRESH AIR

One of the best things you can get from being in nature is the fresh air. This is especially beneficial for people who live in urban areas where the air is full of pollutants and toxins that can cause irritation and difficulty breathing.

Interestingly enough, fresh air can help improve blood pressure, aid digestion, strengthen your immune system, cleanse your lungs, and give you more energy. Research from the Journal of Environmental Psychology actually shows that being surrounded by nature can increase energy in 90% of people. Go spend time outdoors and tell me you don’t feel refreshed just by breathing in clean air!

Additionally, as we all may remember from our schooldays, trees release oxygen which we take in. More trees mean more oxygen, and more oxygen makes our brains function better and release serotonin – the feel good hormone that can also lower our levels of stress. Which brings us to our next point.

IT REDUCES STRESS…

Who doesn’t want to stress to go away? Our lives today are filled with so many things that stress us out, but camping can help alleviate that. How? It simply takes you away from a stressful environment (aka work or school) and puts you into a nurturing and freeing environment (aka nature).

A way that you can reduce stress is by shutting off all digital screens to meditate. Take it from Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program. He believes that simply turning off phones and soaking up nature is a straightforward way to meditate and reap the health benefits from it.

Meditation in itself has loads of benefits like reducing depression, fatigue, stress, heart diseases; but do it while outdoors in the fresh air and you’ve got yourself the full stress-reduction package.

…AND DEPRESSION OR ANXIETY

In the same sense, camping and being outdoors can decrease depression and anxiety. In fact, surrounding yourself with greenery can decrease depression by around 70% because the environment can reduce the effects of melatonin, which makes you tired and can engender feelings of depression.

You know that saying, “stop and smell the roses?” Well – it’s true because the smell of roses can promote relaxation. Other flowers that you may find while camping or hiking, such as jasmine or lavender can also lower anxiety. The effects of certain smells on our emotions are where aromatherapy comes from.

Even just the smell of pine trees can diminish anxiety and enliven you, which is probably why it’s one of the most popular scents for air fresheners!

IT GETS YOU SOCIALIZING

While some people do go camping alone, most of the time you will be with your family or friends. Numerous studies have pointed out the importance of socializing for your health.

According to the American Health Journal, socializing delays memory problems and can extend your lifespan. Studies from Psychology Today add how socialization is associated with a stronger immune system, better mental health, a decrease in the feeling of depression, and an increase in feelings of well-being.

Camping brings people together because you need to work together to get things done, such as cooking your meals or setting up your tent. When you’re out camping, you also have a tendency to sit down together for a proper meal – something that doesn’t always happen in our regular daily lives.

IT GETS YOU MOVING AND BURNS SOME CALORIES

One of the obvious health benefits of camping is that it gets you active and moving – oh, and it burns all the pizza and junk food you ate throughout the week!

Campsites usually offer a bundle of different activities that can get you active, but even just setting up your tent and getting everything ready can burn some of those excess calories while strengthening your cardiovascular system. Camping and the activities associated with it will burn way more calories than just staying at home or sitting in the office.

Popular activities when camping is usually swimming, sports, games (like tag, catch, or Frisbee), hiking, and fishing. These things will not only get you active but it will get you socializing as well! Add in the fact that you’re breathing in fresh air and that’s already three benefits rolled into one. But that isn’t even everything.

According to Ather Ali, ND, MPH, the assistant director of Complementary/Alternative Medicine Research at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center mentions that “Exercise leads to an increase in natural killer cells, neutrophils, and monocytes, which ultimately increase immune function.” (From Health.Com)

That’s a whole other benefit to add to the already impressive list of how camping can improve your health!

IT PROVIDES YOUR BODY WITH SOME VITAMIN D

Vitamin D is needed for the regulation of calcium and phosphorous absorption, which is what strengthens our bones and teeth. And where do we get Vitamin D aside from food or supplements? The sun!

How it works is that the ultraviolet B (UVB) energy from the sun, converts a type of cholesterol in our skin (7-dehydrocholesterol) into vitamin D3. This is then carried into the liver and kidneys and is transformed into active vitamin D.

That vitamin D is then used by the body to keep bones healthy by increasing the absorption of calcium in the intestines. If your body doesn’t have enough vitamin D, it can only absorb 10% to 15% of dietary calcium. But with a regular amount of vitamin D, it can absorb 30% to 40$.

The lack of vitamin D in our systems can result in bone deformities or bone pains such as rickets and osteomalacia.

Even though you want to maximize your dose of vitamin D during camping, it is important that you still protect the surface of your skin with sunscreen, because UVB can still burn the skin.

IT CREATES CHALLENGES AND STIMULATES YOUR MIND

This is especially true for camping newbies who will constantly be on their toes the first few times. But this still applies to regular campers who still have their fair share of challenges from camping and hiking.

Challenges are important in our life because it gets the brain going. The brain, like every other muscle in our body, needs to work in order to grow and stay strong. Camping poses quite a few challenges that can stimulate the brain.

GO GET OUTSIDE!

There are more benefits of camping that you can learn about but these are already a ton jam-packed into a fun activity. You may not realize it but those camping trips you take are actually improving your health, so do it often and do it whenever you can!

Author Bio:

Today we have a guest writer Rita. Thanks to her for this wonderful article that she shared with us. We hope she will keep providing such wonderful articles in future too. 

 

Rita is the founder of Dating With Nature, where she writes about her outdoor experiences – both good and bad, as well as tips and ideas she’s learned along the way and wants to share. Dating With Nature has all kinds of articles and information about everything to do with camping, hiking, and being outdoors. She is also a wife and mother of two boys; balancing her passion for being outdoors and her family, who she considers are her biggest joys in life.

 

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