In today’s world, you go nonstop. You are plugged in from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. With computers, television, radio, and smartphones, we spend most of our days connected to something. Unfortunately, being plugged in can increase your already stressful and hectic life. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that it is important to unplug and reconnect with nature.
Scientists use the term biophilia to explain human’s need to be exposed to plants, skies, and natural environments (1). The health benefits to outdoor activities are essential to our lives.
One of the best ways to reconnect with nature is to plan a camping trip. Taking a week to unplug and recharge in nature may have you returning to your life refreshed and renewed. Camping is an adventure that is never the same experience twice, but will still give you all the benefits. So how does camping really help?
Resets Your Internal Clock – Insomnia, poor sleep, and sleep deprivation are all common in today’s world. In the past, humans rose with the sun and went to bed when it got dark. This circadian rhythm is interrupted by artificial light and alarms. By allowing your body to respond naturally to the cycles of the sun can put you back into rhythm (2).
Getting Exercise – While many people enjoy working out in a gym or spend their days rushing around, the exercise you get on a camping trip provides better health benefits. Activities such as hiking, walking, and biking outdoors all exposes you to natural sunlight as well as exercise. This can increase production of serotonin and vitamin D (3). Also, camping provides an opportunity to participate in activities, such as putting up a tent, building a campfire, and cooking, that allow us to move in different ways than your regular activities.
Healthy Eating – The limited access to fast food, pre-made foods, and processed foods while camping is a definite bonus. Cooking healthy meals over a campfire has the benefit of not only being healthier for your physical being, but your mental health as well. The back to basics style of Dutch Oven cooking and other dishes helps provide delicious foods as well as act as a stress buster (4). Packing other healthy snacks, such as trail mix, granola, and nuts add energy and enjoyment.
Social Connections – Without your family being glued to the television, playing on the computer, or texting, you have a chance to spend quality time together and reconnect. Getting to know your fellow campers can be fun as well. Many campgrounds offer activities such as nature walks, evening programs, and lectures that offer a chance to enjoy the nature around you (5).
Take the opportunity to get away from the stress and enjoy the world around you. Camping provides the best of health and healing benefits nature can offer. Pulling up stakes and getting out for a week in the woods will have you relaxed, rested, and ready to take on the world again.