While you may love to go camping for all kinds of reasons, did you know that spending time in the great outdoors can literally improve your health and overall well being?
It’s true – according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conversation, studies have shown that simply being outdoors can help boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, help reduce stress and improve your mood, increase your ability to focus (even in children with ADHD), accelerate recovery after a surgery or illness, increase energy levels and help improve sleep!
Here are a few ways in particular how a good ole fashioned camping trip can help us stay away from the doc.
1. Fresh air can help fight off disease.
When we breathe in a nice huge breath of fresh air, we breath in what’s known as “pytoncides“, which are airborne chemicals that plants give off to help protect themselves from insects.
These chemicals have antibacterial and antifungal qualities that also help plants fight disease. When humans breathe in these chemicals, our bodies respond by increasing the activity of a type of white blood cell called a natural killer cell, which helps kill other tumor- and virus-infected cells in our bodies. Japanese researchers are currently looking into whether or not exposure to forests can even help prevent certain types of cancer!
2. Simply just looking at trees reduces blood pressure.
Numerous studies have shown that both exercising in forests and simply just sitting looking at trees reduce blood pressure as well as the stress related hormones cortisol and adrenaline. In addition, looking at photos of trees has a similar, yet less powerful effect – but you have to admit, this pic of cedar trees is pretty relaxing!
3. Spending time in nature can help you focus.
Between work, school and family life, our hectic minds can become fried pretty quickly. If you’re feeling mentally drained, spending time in nature or even just looking at plants, birds, water or other elements of nature can help renew your patience and give your brain the break it truly needs.
4. You can recover faster from a surgery or illness with a green view.
Perhaps it’s the soothing, healing power of the color, or by chance it could be the comfort of just looking out at trees. Either way, research has shown that hospital patients who had green views out their windows had shorter postoperative stays, took fewer painkillers, and ended up having slightly fewer postsurgical complications when compared to patients who didn’t have a view – or one of just a cement wall.
5. Camping improves your mood!
Okay, so camping might already make you happy from being so awesome – but it can physically improve your mood by evening out the melatonin levels in your brain (which can make you feel tired or depressed).