Camping & Happiness: Why Going Outside is Good For Your Health
We’ve all heard our parents mantra “go outside and get some fresh air;” but do we do this enough? With many of us plugging away on the computer or at a desk for extended periods of time we are arguably under-exposed to our natural state. What happened to living outside, frolicking through the woods and sleeping on the forest floor? Well, civilization happened. Humans evolved from existing 100% in nature to an increased existence inside. Thousands of years later, we find ourselves increasingly sedentary and indoors…leading to a slew of health problems and a population plagued with stressed out corporate zombies. Whoops!
Perhaps on Vancouver Island we are a bit more removed from the new-age office-zombie apocalypse. With an Island culture largely rooted in outdoor recreation and a collective environmental conscious (not to generalize…I’m sure we all know a handful of people that need to get out more), we take the time to enjoy our coastal surroundings. The Tall Tree Music Festival not only combines music and the great outdoors; it allows you to celebrate it. Waking up to spectacular mountain views, with camping sites located in the brush; there is nothing like this festival. Let’s look at why getting outside is important, not only to your physical health, but also to your sanity.
Being out in the wilderness is a way to reconnect people to the healing power of nature. Research has shown that 71% of those suffering from depression found relief through the availability of green spaces, eco-therapy and using nature as a tonic. Studies have also found that the outdoor world can expand our senses, reignite our imaginations and enhance our creativity.
In fact, many now believe it’s time to listen to the call of the wild for the sake of our health. But then again, we campers have known that for years!
It may be enough to go outside for 5 minutes to take some deep breaths, feel the breeze on your face and activate your natural senses, however, many believe that camping is all you need to open your mind and body to healing itself and to make the most of the health benefits of camping.
As humans we wouldn’t have spread across the globe if we hadn’t been compelled to travel from place to place. We’ve had to become travelers, adventurers and campers to survive, so we’ve had these basic instincts hardwired into our systems.
Oh yeah, and check this out: findings from a new study by the US Forest Service are the latest contribution to a growing body of evidence indicating exposure to the natural environment may have a positive impact on health (duh). The 18-year analysis of data from 1,296 counties suggests that Americans living in areas with a tree deficit are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and lower respiratory tract infections than those who live in areas where trees are plentiful. Although the study is far from conclusive, it does raise the question: does camping have health benefits?
- Being outdoors increases exposure to vitamin D, which studies show may help prevent high blood pressure and heart attacks, as well as some forms of cancer and depression.
- Exercise is an inherent part of camping, as it involves more walking, hiking and general activity, such as getting water and collecting wood. The increased exercise improves circulation, which promotes better sleep, along with enhancing cardiovascular and bone health.
- Time spent away from the demands and stress of work, in addition to disconnecting from the constant stimulation of technology, promotes relaxation, resulting in better mental and emotional health.
- Spending time with family deepens bonds, facilitating improved social health.
So, come on out to Tall Tree Music Festival. You’re not only going to listen to great music…you’re also going to reconnect with your OG friend: nature. There’s nothing like waking up on top of Brown’s Mountain with fresh coffee, French toast (from the café), watching the Elk down in the estuary and sharing time with friends, both new and old. You might never leave.