In his essay Nature, Ralph Waldo Emerson dives into the healing powers of the wilderness: “In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.”
It may be century-old wisdom, but his thoughts still holds true today. There’s just something about losing yourself in the natural world.
In fact, there are very real health benefits. We may not be able to transport ourselves back to Emerson’s quaint cabin in the woods, but we can certainly head outdoors. Below are just a few reasons to ditch it all for a few days or more and go camping.
When we go camping we spend most of our time outside. Mentally focusing on all the things that make you feel great outside can do wonders for your mind, body, and soul. Life pauses and stress levels drop making it a fantastic time for your body to have a break.
When we go camping we simplify, subtract, and strip back from our normal cluttered and hectic daily lives. This gives us more opportunity to get in touch with nature, find some solitude and time to switch off, and simply to breath.
In today’s world it seems we are always rushing around, stressed out from work and our daily tasks and becoming less and less healthy all the time.
Being outside in the fresh air also seems to heighten our senses, which can bring more rewards. Food tastes better, air smells cleaner, and the birds and nature sound clearer.
Camping will not only get you outdoors and enjoy nature, but it also has some awesome impacts on your health.
Modern life as we know it is full of the Internet, social media, work, demands, mobile phones, pressure, and deadlines. This has an impact on our bodies by getting it to produce extra adrenalin to deal with it all. Having this reaction is normal since the body is built to deal with it, however, what isn’t good is not taking time away from it all to give the body time to recover.
There are three things we can all do to help our systems recover ready for the next challenge, and unsurprisingly camping provides a path to all of them.
Exercise and Movement
When we go camping we have more opportunity to get involved in hiking, biking, fishing, and simply doing what we enjoy. Exercising and moving is simply one of the best ways to combat an overworked body, mind, and soul, in an over committed lifestyle.
Many camping activities can be a good form of exercise. Walking and hiking help improve circulation, strengthen and pump up the heart, help in lowering blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart problems.
If bikes are available, biking uphill and downhill in the trails is also a good form of exercise and a great activity to enjoy with companions.
Reduce Physical Stress
Back pains, eye strains, muscle aches and headaches, sluggish circulation that increases the risks of heart problems and heart attacks are just some of the results of too much stress. Any form of outdoor activities such as camping has been proven to reduce the level of stress in the body. This allows the body to recuperate and regain the energy lost.
Enjoying outdoor activities naturally reduces the feeling of being stressed and greatly improves our mood. The scent of grass can have a calming effect as some research suggested.
This is the other time we go into rest and repair mode—when we sleep. It’s a simple thing but restorative sleep is crucial for us to function properly. Camping naturally helps the body to wind down from stimulating activities and get into the mood for sleep.
It doesn’t hurt when you fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves or the chorus of crickets and tree frogs and wake to the rising sun peeking through the tall pines or silhouetting stately saguaros or Joshua trees.
Camping is an effective and cost efficient form of outdoor activity. The next time you think of getting away during the weekends, try camping out and experience firsthand the many health benefits of camping at the same time enjoy the beauty of nature.
Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
— John Muir