Each year, Quigley, Jr is able to contribute more and more to the camping trip. In the past, I've always gone out a day or two early to scout out the best camp site. This year, Quigley came along and I let him chose the place where we'd pitch our tent. He was very excited to be more involved.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "In the presence of nature a wild delight runs through man, in spite of real sorrow." This century-old wisdom is still true today and is true for us frogs, too. There is something wonderful about losing oneself in the woods. In addition to spending quality time reconnecting with my young brother, there are other real benefits of spending time camping....for me AND for you.
You totally unplug. For many of us, the thought of ditching our cell phones and laptops for a few days can be a scary thing. But spending time away from technology can have an important impact on our well-being. Research shows that too much technology can induce more stress and negatively impact our sleep. Excessive screen time can also lead to neck pain...a few folks have even experienced some neurological problems. So unplug and unwind for a few days. And don't worry. Everything will still be there when you get back.
You may sleep better. A 2013 study done by the University of Colorado at Boulder showed that the more you abide by the sun's schedule the more likely you are to go to bed and wake up at a reasonable time. Researchers have also shown that campers, after spending a week away from artificial light, slept better and had their circadian rhythms resent which made them feel less groggy.
Being in nature is good for your mood. Spending time in nature is good for mental health, especially so if you're a city dweller. Just a few minutes of walking in nature can reduce depressive symptoms. Spending time in nature can even help reduce rumination...obsessive, negative thinking that can lead to more serious mental health issues. Mother nature sure knows how to keep us well!
It could inspire a sense of awe. Both humans and frogs (probably other critters, too) are wired for wonder. We feel compelled to stop and gaze at a beautiful sunset or to admire the twinkling stars in the night sky. Research even suggests that awe-inspiring moments can make us happier and more inventive. Camping can be a wonderful solution, then, for your creative rut.
You'll burn some calories. Taking a long hike through the woods is one of the best, and most pleasurable, way to burn off calories. Then, too, there's chopping wood for the camping, pitching the the tent, and many other activities that will help to slim you down. Just don't undo all the good by eating too many S'mores! Singing around the campfire can also help you burn off a few extra calories. And if you're lucky enough to be camping near a lake, as little Quigley and I are doing, you can swim, canoe, and kayak...all of which are great ways to burn calories and keep fit. There aren't any fast food restaurants in the woods, either, so camping encourages you to eat healthier. Just remember to pack healthy snacks and foods to cook over the open fire.
This is sure going to be a fun-filled weekend, and I can't wait to pack my gear and hit the trail. I hope that your weekend plans, whatever you're doing, will include some time spent outdoors. You might even consider taking dad on a weekend camping trip...it's great family fun. Happy weekend and Happy Father's Day!
See you all back here on Monday.