Health has always been a priority in our lives but since having children, it has become an even bigger priority. Eating the right foods, getting exercise, avoiding the common cold (or the daycare plague), and getting plenty of sleep is important but many of us forget about our mental health. As life pulls us in as many directions as it can, many times we forget to stop and take a break. Many people don’t even use their vacation days! Can you believe that? We see camping as a time to get away and take a break. Though I don’t have any scientific evidence to support my opinion, I believe camping is good for you. And here is why;
1. Disconnect from Reality
One of the things I enjoy doing while camping is turning off my phone. No news, no Facebook, no email, no text messages. Turning off my phone helps me enjoy our trip so I’m not worrying about what is going on around us. We are so dependent on our phones or devices that it can be refreshing to unplug and not worry about them
No phone? Set up an ancient sun dial to tell time. We found this one near Dinosaur National Park last fall.
2. Family Time
For us, during the week it’s go, go go! Often times leaving us with limited family time. Camping provides an environment for quality family time. We don’t worry about having to go places, or waiting for someone to get off work, or making sure dinner is on the table at a certain time. Camping allows us to come together as a family and enjoy each other without the stress of life.
3. Explore and Discover
On our trips we love to explore. It doesn’t matter if we are walking in the woods with the kids letting them explore around the campsite, or if we are taking a drive and see something neat and take a detour. Exploring towns, mines, hiking trails, ghost towns, or wherever we are at keeps our trips fun and exciting. Our days at home can be so scheduled that it’s nice to not have a schedule. It can be relaxing to see where your trip takes you instead of having the stress of planning activities.
We get to see so many neat things because we get off the beaten path and explore.
4. Appreciate Nature
When was the last time you were able to get out and enjoy nature…..without buildings, streets, cars, or a town full of people around you? Getting up in the morning to enjoy a cup of coffee while sitting in a meadow looking at the mountains, listening to the birds while taking in deep breaths of fresh air allows you to clear you head and appreciate your surroundings. You can almost feel your stress being taken away with the breeze. Mother Nature worked hard creating mountain ranges, filling lakes, ponds and streams, growing lush green meadows and forests, shaping and carving rocks, and painting the skies each sunset and sunrise. It’s a shame we spend so much time surrounded by concrete pillars and concrete streets.
Collin picked a good spot to enjoy Mother nature while nature called.
Ben got to see a fox hunting right in front of the truck. You don’t see that everyday in the city.
5. Mental and Physical Exercise
Whether you are trying to figure out why your fire won’t start or scaling a 14er, camping provides lots of opportunities to exercise both your mind and your body. Camping allows you to think creatively to solve a problem and challenges you to push yourself physically. The outdoors is also a wonderful place for kids to expand their imagination. When we camp our kids dig in the dirt, climb trees, throw stones into streams, play in puddles, collect pinecones and sticks, balance on rocks, and play, play, play! They use their imagination to build towns and roads out of sticks, stones and dirt. If they are dirty at the end of the day, we know they’ve had a good day and gotten plenty of exercise.
6. Relax and Reflect
One of Collin’s favorite part of camping is the campfire at night. He enjoys helping Ben build it, then watching Ben lite it after he has poured a healthy helping of “fire starter” on it. But mostly he enjoys stuffing those sweet cheeks with marshmallows. As a child going to camp, we would have campfires where we would reflect on our time at camp, tell stories and spend time connecting with one another and ourselves. The orange glow of a warm fire in the night is relaxing and soothing whether you are camping alone or with your family and friends. It allows for time to think, relax and reflect.
7. Most importantly…it’s FUN!
Kick back, take a load off, need a little R&R, playing hookie; however you look at it, camping should be fun! This is your chance to get away from the real world and enjoy yourself. So hit the trails, pull up a good camping chair, lite a fire, get out the s’mores and have fun! They say laughter is the best medicine, can we include camping in that too?
The next time you are out camping or adventuring, we hope you are able to see how camping can benefit your life and your health.