By David Gray, Master Camper and Head of Content at Best Tent For You
Whether you are an avid camper already, or a novice looking for reasons to start planning your first trip, I have found five great reasons why you should go camping.
I’ve also included a couple of interesting studies to back up my reasons and hopefully encourage more people to venture out into nature.
According to this study, Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings, by Ruth Ann Atchley, David L. Strayer, and Paul Atchley, being immersed in nature increases our problem-solving abilities.
By just spending four days camping or hiking, while being completely disconnected from multi-media and technology, performance on creative problem-solving task increases by a full 50%. But how does this happen?
There’s a cognitive advantage to be realized after spending time in nature, and it could be because of an increase in exposure to natural stimuli which is emotionally positive and low arousing. Also the corresponding decrease in exposure to technology frees our attention.
Basically, by digitally detoxing, we allow ourselves to focus on other things – mainly, the present. Additionally, camping can introduce us to new experiences, at times causing us to find solutions or get crafty.
While camping and spending time in natural light, our circadian rhythm resets and returns our bodies back to our internal clocks, according to research published in Current Biology, which was approved by the University of Colorado Bolder.
In a study, nine participants went camping for a weekend. The groups’ sleeping patterns were reviewed afterward, and the researchers found that the campers’ internal clocks had returned to normal, and that the natural light and darkness kept them from staying up late and sleeping in over the weekend.
So, spending a few days and nights can help those who find it difficult to get to sleep and get up in the mornings. All because our bodies get a chance to re-adjust to the natural light-dark circle, as opposed to being exposed to artificial light all the time.
Whether you have children or not, camping is educational for all ages. Many practical skills can be learned from camping such as pitching a tent, or having to makeshift one, building a campfire, and so on.
Children who camp at least once a year do better at school and are happier and healthier; according to a study carried out by the Institute of Education at Plymouth University and the Camping and Caravanning Club. The two collaborated in order to discover perceptions of the relationship between camping and education.
The research was led by Sue Waite, an Associate Professor at the Institute, and it found that more than four out of five parents communicated that camping had positive effects on their children.
Camping can make us happier and healthier. When breathing in fresh air you also breath in phytoncides which are airborne chemicals plants give off in order to protect themselves from insects. These chemicals have antifungal and antibacterial qualities that help plants fight diseases. When we breathe in those phytoncides, our bodies react by increasing the number and activity of a type of white blood cell – called natural killer cells (NK). These cells kill tumor and virus infected cells in our bodies.
Also, camping and relaxing in nature is good for our emotional and physical wellbeing as it reduces heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
Simply being in the outdoors increases serotonin and dopamine which are natural chemicals/neurotransmitters in our brain. Serotonin is responsible for many functions including memory, sleep, and appetite, whereas dopamine affects our emotional response, ability to feel pleasure, and movement.
Walking around barefoot, is known as grounding or earthing. Research has shown that grounding is an accessible health strategy against chronic inflammation. It seems that recharging by conductive contact with the Earth’s surface – or ‘battery’ for all planetary life – is optimally effective.
This study was conducted by James L Oschman, Gaetan Chevalier, and Richard Brown and was posted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
It’s also good for everyone to get away from light and noise pollution. Especially technology, which is causing us to be less focused, according to this study that was published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions.
Last, but not least it is also an excellent way to bond with others, and doing so reduces stress, depression, and anxiety. Put simply – it makes us happy, and you’ll end up feeling so refreshed after your next hiking or camping trip regardless of whether you are a beginner hiker or camper.