If you’re reading this, odds are you enjoy camping. Maybe it’s just the chance it gives you to escape from every day life. Maybe you like the smell of a crackling campfire. Maybe it’s being able to lay back on the ground at night to see the stars. Or maybe it’s just because it makes you feel good.
In fact, camping can actually be good for both your physical and mental health. Countless studies have shown the benefits that come from being outdoors, including these:
1. Give me a “D”!
Getting outdoors to get a little bit of sunshine is a great way to boost the body’s levels of Vitamin D, which helps to maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphate in the blood. This in turn helps to keep bones strong and reduce the chance you may develop osteoporosis. But that’s not all; Vitamin D may help fend off depression, high blood pressure, heart attacks and even some forms of cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic website, as little as 10 minutes of exposure to the sun can help prevent Vitamin D deficiencies.* (*Talk to your doctor about proper precautions for sun exposure.)
2. Walk This Way
Another health benefit of camping stems from the many activities that come with it. Taking walks through the campground or hiking nearby trails is a great way to get in the type of moderate, low-risk aerobic exercise that can get hearts pumping, improve circulation and even help to lower blood pressure. In addition, walking can actually help to strengthen bones, again helping to decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
3. Don’t Stress It
EHealthMd.com reports that nearly two-thirds of all physician visits are related to stress. Stress causes headaches, back and muscle pain, stomach troubles and even high blood pressure and heart attacks. The good news is that getting outdoors and enjoying some fresh air can actually help to reduce stress. Our levels of serotonin naturally rise when we’re outside, improving our mood and helping to reduce our feelings of stress. Some research has shown that even the scent of grass can have a calming effect.
4. Rest Easy
Just like people usually get better sleep when they’re exercising regularly, being outdoors also can improve our ability to sleep. And better, deeper sleep means a clearer mind, more energy and can even help us to lose weight.
5. Just Kids Play
If you have kids, you probably know that they don’t spend as much time playing outdoors as you did when you were their age. In fact, according to the Be Out There campaign from the National Wildlife Federation, the average time a child spends in unstructured outdoor play has plummeted to 4-7 minutes a day, while childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed. Going camping is a great way to get your kids or grandkids outdoors, having fun and letting their imagination run wild.
So the next time you’re looking for a way to boost your mood and your health, grab your gear and head out for a little camping in the great outdoors. It’ll do ya good.