“Let’s go camping this summer!”
It’s possibly a comment you’ve heard more times than you wish. For many, the idea of going out in the middle of a forest is their idea of Hell. Of course, for others, the idea of camping with the family is fun and fresh. There’s so much to do and a time to unplug and get away from the bustle of cities and life.
Even if you don’t like the initial idea of camping, this is something that you want to consider doing this summer. You don’t just get away from work, but you also benefit your overall health. Your mental and emotional health benefit, as you get to recharge everything about you.
You’ll hear all types of benefits spouted by experts and camping enthusiasts, but what about the real benefits? What about those that have been proven by scientists? Here’s a look at the seven ways you will definitely benefit by camping, whether on your own, with your significant other or your family and friends.
You’ll Get to Complete Unplug and Avoid Screens
When you’re camping, there is no access to Wi-Fi, electricity and more. This can be the idea of Hell for many people, but it actually offers you a range of benefits mentally and physically. When you escape the tech and the electricity, you will also escape your devices and that feeling that you need to be constantly connected online.
Many people struggle to completely unplug from their phones. Even though you may have rules of no phones at the dinner table, it’s hard when the phone is just across the room from you or in another room. You can hear the pings and know people expect you to reply. Without the access to the Wi-Fi, you get to scrap the guilt and completely detach yourself form the online world.
Sometimes it’s worth purposely looking for a place without any Wi-Fi and electricity. Turn your phones off to preserve the batteries in case of a genuine emergency, but otherwise just spend time together.
Spending too much time on your phone increases anxiety. You have this need to match expectations and always put on your best face, and you feel the pressure to match others’ expectations and lifestyles. Those who use their phones excessively can also experience some neurological issues and neck pain.
An overuse of your phone could actually lead to mental health problems. You’re constantly stimulated from the screen and it’s hard to disconnect from that. There is such a thing as technology or phone addiction. Our brains are also rewired, so real connections are harder to make. You have all these friends online, but it’s difficult to chat to them in real life.
You’ll Find It Easier to Sleep
When you get rid of the phones and tablets, you’ll find that sleep is much easier to come by. Your phone screens act a little like daylight, telling your brain that it’s not time to sleep yet. You’re forced to stay away, despite your body knowing that it’s time to sleep. Your brain and body work against each other and you’re left feeling the negative side effects the next morning.
Plus you’re over-stimulated with the phones and tablets. This causes problems when you want to sleep, as your brain finds it harder to shut down.
It’s not just the loss of tech that will help you sleep. When you camp, you increase the amount of fresh air you get. There are high chances that you’ll do more, whether it’s hiking, kayaking or spending time building fires and swimming in the lake. You find it easier to work with the sun’s schedule, which means you’re up earlier and find it easier to sleep earlier on a night.
Your circadian rhythm gets a chance to reset. While you may initially feel more tired than ever before, your body will quickly get over it. You’ll feel less groggy on a morning and be ready to start your day.
Of course, when you sleep better, you also feel better within yourself. Your immune system is stronger and your digestive system is supported. Your brain releases the right chemicals, so you feel happier within yourself.
Reduce the Risk of Depression
Talking about feeling happier, camping has also shown the ability to starve off depression, whatever the reason. You sleep better, which instantly helps to boost the happy hormones in the body and improves your overall positive mental health.
You will also get away from the reasons for the negativity. Many people suffer from depression because of social media. Something that was designed to help us feel more connected with people, can leave us feeling depressed and anxious. We see how perfect everyone else’s lives are and how much support they have and then realize that we don’t get that same support on our own comments and photos.
Spending time in the outdoors doesn’t just help to get rid of social media, but it also helps to reduce obsessive, negative thoughts. This is also known as rumination, which can lead to many other mental health problems.
The University of Michigan researchers have also found that walking out in the countryside and forests can help to reduce depressive symptoms. This is partially linked to being out in nature and away from technology, but it’s also linked to the escape from other people. You get the chance to feel one with nature and within yourself. Your soul is give the support it needs, as you see animals in their habit and the beauty of Mother Nature around you.
Plus, there’s the walking benefits. Exercise has proven to help reduce risks of depression and relapses of symptoms. You release the positive hormones, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
Experience Something Bigger Than Yourself
We tend to get stuck in our tiny bubbles. Many of us forget about the things that happen in the world. Sure, we read the news but we focus on the negativities in the news. There’s this weird feeling that negative news is more compelling than positive news. But we forget about everything else in nature happening around us.
Then there’s the things happening in our lives. We get stuck in ruts, whether in work or personal lives. It can be hard to open up and talk to others or find a way out of a sticky situation. This is where going out in nature can be one of the most effective and amazing things. This is why camping is something you should do every year.
When you get into nature, you see things much bigger than yourself. You see the beautiful colors of the sunset and the way the stars pattern the sky. You’ll see mother animals with their young and the way flowers and trees can grow when not affected by pollution and manmade structures. This is the world at its most natural and best.
These sights are often awe-inspiring. They help to bring out creativity and vision. There’s a reason many artists and writers will find cabins by lakes or in woods to do their writing and artwork. These are the places that they can draw more inspiration from. These are the places they are more productive and inventive, and it’s not just because they’re away from the tech.
You’ll Help Yourself Lose Weight
There’s something to be said for walking around the campgrounds more. When you go camping, you’ll likely take up a few interests. They could be kayaking, hiking and even mountain biking. Just simply walking along one of the local treks is going to help support your health. You support your weight loss efforts.
The exercise can help you burn 500+ calories. You’ll find there are more changes in the intensity and you do more bodyweight workouts as you walk up and down the hills. As you burn more calories, you create a better calorie deficit, which means that you find it easier to lose weight.
But won’t you eat more while in nature? Well, not necessarily. And when you do there are chances that you’ll eat better, more wholesome food. Many people who go camping will eat what they can forage, which means you’re sticking to food that is natural and full of the healthy vitamins. You can follow a paleo diet without even thinking about it.
Others will take some of their home comforts, but they won’t be able to eat as much. You’ll find that cooking takes longer and you’re less likely to just reach for a snack. Plus you have to think ahead and plan for the amount of food you’ve been able to bring. This can lead to you eating less than you usually would and making smarter choices, so you feel fuller for longer. You end up naturally eating fewer calories throughout the day.
Then there’s the benefit of doing more throughout the day. Most of our eating problems come from emotional eating. When we get bored, we start reaching for the food to make us feel happier and better. When we’re in the middle of nature, we’re less likely to reach for the comfort foods since nature has offered us everything we need instead!
Improve Your Heart Health
The exercise does more than just starve off depression and burn calories. It helps our overall health, especially our heart health. The heart is a muscle and it needs regular exercise to keep it working effectively. When you go camping, you’ll certainly do more exercise.
At home, we tend to stay in the house as much as possible. We’ll spend far more time in front of the computer or TV than is good for us and forget about the walking around that we need to do. When we do go outside, there’s the chance that we’ll jump in the car and use other forms of transportation. Most of these options aren’t available when it comes to camping.
While we can bike, there’s the need to peddle. Kayaking and canoeing can be an option, but you’re giving your upper body a workout. Whatever you do—unless you just laze by the lakeside—you will improve your heart rate. You help to shed the pounds and keep the heart rate going up and down for healthy reasons.
This can instantly give you a health boost. You will need to keep it up afterwards, but at least going camping once a year is a start!
You’ll Spend More Time Away from Pollutants
Mother Nature offers the all-natural air benefits. The air quality is miles better than it is in your inner-city life. But that’s not all! You’ll also find it better than the air in your home.
Camping helps to get more people outside. Even if you go outside on a daily basis, you will find it much harder to get the air quality that you would in the middle of the forest. Pollutants are everywhere, but surprisingly the concentration of pollutants is 2-5 times higher than inside, which makes your indoor air quality worse for you. It’s no wonder people feel groggy and depressed when they spend hours in their own home.
When you go camping, you spend far more time out in the fresh air. You get much lower levels, while enjoying nature and all the other benefits. Your body will thank you, although this is often in the way of making you feel sleepier by the end of the day. It’s time to get yourself outside and enjoy all the air benefits.
Go Camping Once a Year for the Benefits
The next time someone suggests that you go camping for your family vacation this year, jump at the chance to do it. This is one of the best things you can do for your health, both mentally and physically. The extra activity and fresh air will support your physical health, while the time away from the computer screens will instantly boost your mental health. You deserve to put yourself first!