As I do every year, I'll go out a day early and find us the perfect spot. Tomorrow, Quigley and I will return with all of our gear and settle in for the weekend. There's lots hard work, of course, getting the campsite ready, but then we have fun hiking, swimming and making "worm'mores" over the campfire. When the trip is over, I notice how much better, more exhilerated, I feel. Quigley, too. So I decided to check and see if there were real health benefits to camping...and indeed there are!
There's no doubt that losing yourself, and your cellphone service, in the woods gives us a sense of peace and calm...a real modern-day Ralph Waldo Emerson-type of experience. As we all know, too much tech is not good for our mental and physical well-being. It can lead to increase anxiety, which means more stress, and even some physical problems,like a very real pain in th neck, if you will. When you're forced to ditch the smartphone and tablet, your mind and body will thank you. And did you know that camping can help you sleep better? Research done in 2013 at the University of Boulder (appropriate name, don't you think?) shows that when we keep our schedules aligned with that of the sun, and away from artificial light, we can reset our cardiac rhythms, causing us to feel less groggy. Additionally, being surrounded by nature, helps to improve our mood. We feel happier and more contented. It gives us the opportunity to watch the sun ris and witness the majesty of the night sky.
Frogs, really all creatures, I think, are wired for wonder. We feel compelled to witness all the beautiful things that inspire awe in us. What better place to find that, then communing with nature?Science believes that awe-inspiring moments make us happier and more inventive...a most pleasurable remedy for our creative rut.
Need to lose a little weight? Camping (ok all physical activity) can help us burn calories. When we're active, ldoing things ike hiking and pitching the tent, we burn calories and have fewer tempemptations to nibble beteen meals. (An extra plus is that there are no fast food joints out there in the woods.) It seems that "happy trails" really can, and do, make us feel happier.
And, finally, camping gives us a picture-perfect way to connect with the things that are truly important; nature and spending quality time with friends and family.