You probably already know that camping is fun, but did you know that it’s actually good for your health? Humans often long to spend time in nature; science has even come up with a term for it: biophilia.
In fact, a recent study suggested that the increase in conditions like obesity, attention disorders and depression is partly due to a decrease in being exposed to nature. Researchers note that nature appears to be beneficial for stress relief, mental restoration and improved mood.
Feel more alert in the morning
If you struggle to get out of bed, camping can even help to reset your internal biological clock so that it will be easier to wake up, and help you feel more alert in the morning, according to a study out of the University of Colorado, Boulder.
After study participants spent more time exposed to natural light and less time in artificial lighting, researchers found their bedtimes and wake-up times shifted, both moving up to two hours earlier. They say that the comforts of modern living, like tech gadgets and fluorescent lighting, actually change our melatonin levels, which explains why so many people want to go right back to sleep as soon as they wake up.
Increasing physical activity
Camping naturally means you’ll get more exercise, and many of the health issues we face today are related to being too sedentary. Setting up the tent, hauling out your gear, gathering wood, fishing, hiking, and swimming are all considered exercise – although most of the time you’ll be having so much fun you don’t even realize it’s exercise!
Camping can also help to increase serotonin levels, those “feel good” hormones the body produces that make us feel happy, due to the increased sunlight exposure and increased physical activity.
Camping is a great way to reduce stress by escaping the daily grind and getting away from smartphones, laptops, television and all of those other tech gadgets, as well as stressful work situations – provided you don’t bring any of these items along with you. Avoid the temptation. They’ll be there when you return.
If you camped while you were growing up, odds are those trips are some of your favorite memories. Camping forces the family to reconnect, work together and communicate face-to-face rather than over Facebook or iPhones.
Camping as a family not only helps improve relationships with the kids, but it can help improve your marriage. Numerous studies, including a 2013 study from the University of Missouri, have found that happily married couples enjoy better physical and mental health.
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to plan your next camping trip!
-The Alternative Daily