- Fresh Air. Have you ever read about how adding certain plants to your house or office cleans the air? Imagine the benefits of surrounding yourself with giant versions of those plants! Climatotherapy, which is experiencing a new climate for therapeutic health benefits, is very real. It can strengthen your immune system and your nervous system – all good things for a healthy body. You can enjoy these benefits with a camping trip to the mountains or the ocean. Studies have also shown that being outdoors can improve your mood, and actually reduce “rumination” time – that spiral of worry we find ourselves caught in from time to time.
- Unplugging from Technology. It is getting easier to bring technology with you on the trip, but the benefits of unplugging for a camping getaway may convince you not to keep up with the Joneses (or the Jetsons, as the case may be). When you take a break from technology, you may see an improvement in your mood, your eyestrain, and even your sleep. Neck pain might also be alleviated! Camping is a great opportunity to remember that, sometimes, life is best when you are actually experiencing it, and not just reading about it.
- Re-establish Normal Sleep Cycles. The more you are exposed to natural light, and the cyclical absence of that light, the better your sleep. It is also one of the best things you can do to help normalize stressed hormones. Our body is designed to release our sleep hormones (like melatonin) and our wakeful hormones (like cortisol) with the cycles of natural light. The more we are exposed to natural light (and the less unnatural light we are exposed to – see #2), the better our sleep and wake cycles will be. Going to bed when it is dark and waking up when it is light might not seem like a lot of fun, but it does wonders for your health.
- Exercise. You may have driven out in your RV but, chances are, when you go camping you see an increase in the amount of walking and exercising that you do. Whether you are taking a hike to a beautiful waterfall, or taking a swim in a mountain lake, increasing your exercise will reduce your risk of chronic disease. Even sitting less – fly fishing, for example – will decrease your risk of diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. You don’t need a gym to make a difference – there are health gains associated with just 20 minutes of light walking a day. And what better place to walk than the beautiful outdoors?
- Socializing. Humans are designed to be social creatures, and our health is dependent on it. Regular socializing can delay memory problems and potentially lower your risk of dementia. You may even extend your life, as well as lift your mood, by enjoying time with people you love. Highly social people are even less likely to catch a cold, which seems completely counter-intuitive!
You may not be camping for the health benefits, but it will benefit your life just the same.
When’s your next camping trip?