That’s right, you heard it here first: camping is good for you! Don’t believe me? Are you one of those who doesn’t like the great outdoors? Don’t like the mud, the rain, no phone signal, sleeping on the ground, insects?
When you put it like that, it’s no wonder you’re thinking ‘is camping good for you?’ but trust me, it is, and in this article, I’m going to explain exactly why!
Camping is good for you because it has a boosting effect on both physical and mental health. Camping also promotes physical exercise, with all of the extra outdoor activity, and it can help to reset your circadian rhythm (body clock).
When we did our epic 12-day camping trip around Scotland, I started that trip going to bed around 3 am and waking up around 10/11 am. I finished the trip going to bed around 10 pm and waking up around 6/7 am. I’ve never been an early riser (and I still don’t like early mornings) but the difference within a few days was astounding!
Why Camping Is Good For You
Being outdoors all day and all night are some of the major health benefits of camping. It’s great both mentally and physically.
Camping offers a deeper connection to nature with the chance to take in higher levels of oxygen and Vitamin D. There are so many reasons why camping is good for you, and why you should get away in your tent more often!
Here is my list of four ways going camping can help to improve your health.
Everyone’s camping experience is different and everyone camps for different reasons. Some want to hike the wild trails, while others just want a cheap weekend away outdoors. Whatever your reasons for going camping rest assured that it is good for you!
1. Camping Encourages Physical Activity
It’s been said that camping is one of the few times sane people spend money to make life harder for themselves, and it’s true!
We rarely have access to a dishwasher, a washing machine, there aren’t big comfy sofas, and most of us don’t have a TV and a Netflix subscription to hand to keep the kids entertained, so what are we to do?
In the UK we live very sedentary day to day lives, the NHS estimates that the average UK adult spends 9 hours per day sitting down, and that’s not even including the 8 hours a day we spend sleeping.
For some jobs, especially those like mine in Digital Content Creation, those 9 hours of sitting time can be stretched to 14+ hours, and it’s really bad for our health.
By contrast, camping is hard work! It’s a great opportunity to ditch the laptop and get outside, but you’ll find that even if you’re planning a quiet weekend away, you will naturally do more exercise as a result.
There will be more walking, more moving, more lifting, and all kinds of exercise that you never thought about before you pitched up. So pat yourself on the back, camping is like a gym workout!
2. Being In Nature Boosts Mood
An article on the Harvard Medical School website explains the fascinating link between nature and mood and, just as you’d expect, being in nature does improve your mood.
The incredible thing is that it doesn’t even necessarily need to be nature per se. Even just the sounds of nature have proven to be effective at lifting a poor mood, with most people involved in the study reporting a marked improvement in the way they felt having just listened to some sounds of nature.
This has been backed up by brain imaging and MRI scans, showing positive lighting up in areas of the brain associated with happiness and calm when nature sounds are played.
The link between nature and mood becomes even more pronounced when the person is suffering too, with many people going through a terrible time and struggling with major issues like loss and grief, being greatly boosted by spending time outside.
The Link Between Outdoors and Depression
According to UK charity, Mind, spending time outside can have a positive effect on mental health, they suggest that being outside, taking exercise outdoors, and being around nature and animals can help to alleviate feelings of depression.
Mind states that being outdoors helps to…
- improve your mood
- reduce feelings of stress or anger
- help you take time out and feel more relaxed
- improve your physical health
- improve your confidence and self-esteem
- help you be more active
- help you make new connections
- provide peer support.
Original article here.
Now, it cannot be said that spending time outdoors alone can ‘cure’ depression, and I’m not a medical doctor so I would never suggest it does, but numerous studies have shown that being outside can have a positive impact on mood and help to reconnect those suffering from a bout of depression to the world.
Spending time in nature, out in the fresh air, can be peaceful, and sometimes that’s something that is needed in today’s world and giving yourself that chance for self-care will hopefully make a difference.
3. Experiences For Growth
This one is a bit of an odd one, but I firmly believe that camping and spending time outside gives you the chance to experience growth as a human being, be it physically, spiritually, emotionally or even just grow with your friends and family.
My reason for believing this is because I have had many experiences camping that has made me stop and think.
I’ve camped with good friends, I’ve camped with a couple of boyfriends (incidentally camping could make or break your relationship!), and I’ve camped with family. All of those experiences have taught me things about myself and about what I’m capable of.
Camping fosters all kinds of transferable skills, be that leadership, thinking outside the box, a LOT of patience and resilience, and, of course, teamwork. Each of those soft skills will allow you the chance for personal growth and the chance to explore who you are.
There’s nothing like kicking back and relaxing under canvas 🙂
4. Time For A Rest
Finally, camping gives us all a chance to kick back and relax, to enjoy being outside and taking life at a bit of a slower pace.
That’s not to say camping isn’t hard work!
You’ll probably be up at the crack of dawn, and everything needs to be done manually (no dishwasher or central heating in sight), but the slower pace of life and the chance to relax is definitely something most of us don’t get at home, and it’s a real welcome change too.
How does camping affect your health? Do you feel better after a good weekend away, or is it the being outside with other people that help to boost your mood?
Why not discuss this and all things camping in our new Facebook Group – Go & Camp. we’re looking forward to having a chat with you! 🙂