Camping is a ton of fun! Hiking, biking, birdwatching, exploring new places, building a campfire, playing outdoor games ... the list of great outdoor activities goes on and on! And 99.9% of these activities have you up and moving, getting awesome exercise and using those muscles! You're also breathing in fresh, clean air and soaking up some healthy sunshine. So it should come as no surprise that camping is not only fun, it's good for you too! It's good for your heart and good for your soul. So grab your camping gear, strap on your hiking boots, and head out into the great outdoors for the health of it!
Physical Benefits of Camping
Your body will thank you when you head out camping. There are lots of physical benefits that come along with camping that will impact your health in a positive way. Let's take a look at how this works!
It's Great Exercise!
We all know that exercise is key to having a healthy, fit body. But sometimes it's hard to get motivated to go to the gym or go for a run. What's great about camping is that you're getting exercise when it doesn't even feel like it. Many camping activities help to increase heart rate and work your muscles. And since you’re having a blast doing it, it's much better than spending an hour on the treadmill.
You Sleep Better!
Everyone sleeps better under the stars! Surrounded by fresh air and sunshine all day, you're going to be exhausted come bedtime. Your body will be ready for a restful, uninterrupted night of sleep in the great outdoors. Getting better sleep positively affects your body in many ways, including helping your central nervous, immune, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems work better. It also improves digestion. So don't feel guilty about sleeping in ... it's good for you!
You Load Up on Vitamin D!
Did you know that your body makes about 90% of its own vitamin D simply from exposure to sunlight? Healthy exposure to the sun's rays means that our body can make a sufficient amount of vitamin D, which helps ward off diseases like osteoporosis, cancer, MS, and more. The key is to go about spending time in the sun in a way that doesn't expose you to sunburns and potential skin cancer, or melanoma. Simply slather on sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 about 30 minutes before heading out and you'll be covered. Wearing SPF clothing is a great defense against harmful UV rays as well.
Enjoy Benefits of More Oxygen!
When you're out in nature, your body enjoys the benefit of inhaling more oxygen than when you're closer to the city. You're surrounded by trees and plants that make it their job to release healthy oxygen into the air, which you naturally benefit from. Your body runs better when it has cleaner, purer oxygen coursing through its veins. Every part of your body needs oxygen, but some of the direct benefits of this include better immune functions, higher T-cell counts, lower risk of tumor growth, and much more. Breath it in ... your body will thank you for it!
Mental Benefits of Camping
The health benefits of camping go beyond the physical. Sure, your body will get a great workout, but so too will your mind! When you unplug from our modern world that's constantly buzzing, beeping, and tweeting, and give yourself over to the peaceful surroundings of nature, you'll feel it deep within your soul. You'll enjoy more clarity, an improved mood, and less nagging stress. Here’s how!
You'll Feel Stress Melt Away!
Once all your packing is done and you're heading out on the open road toward your destination, you'll start to feel a calm come over you (assuming you're not caught in heavy traffic!). You're leaving your hectic daily schedules behind if just for a little while and embarking on an outdoor adventure that doesn't include school, work, sports, and other stressful commitments. Camping is all about going with the flow and enjoying all that nature has to offer. How can you feel stressed when you're hiking among the beautiful canyons and rock formations of Utah or enjoying a fall color tour in beautiful northern Michigan?
You're in a Good Mood!
Thanks to the abundant vitamin D and oxygen you're exposed to in the great outdoors, the amount of melatonin in your brain evens out. Melatonin is a chemical that helps you sleep at night. When your melatonin level is out of whack, your brain doesn't want to let your body sleep, resulting in a tired, cranky, and even depressed you! So get out there and live it up in nature to help stabilize your mood and lift your spirits. You, and everyone around you, will be better off for it!
Leave Your Anxiety at Home!
Hopefully camping means less screen time for you and your kids, meaning you've put down your iPads, iPods, tablets, and cell phones and have picked up a walking stick, binoculars, trail map, or marshmallow roaster instead. Too much screen time is bad for your health (we all know this!). Research has shown that screens on electronic devices have some of the same ill effects on the brain as narcotics! Yikes! Spending time staring at a screen can cause anxiety. Ditch the electronics and go camping instead! Leave them at home, or bring them and just check them when needed, and spend more time taking amazing pictures of beautiful waterfalls, expansive forests, and incredible landscapes instead.
Do you notice improved health when you go camping? Tell us about it in the comments and maybe you'll inspire someone to give camping a try for the health of it!