According to the 2022 North American Camping Report, over 93.8 million North American households call themselves campers.
If you’ve never been camping, or if it’s been a while since you ventured into the great outdoors, you might wonder what the appeal is. Why are people so eager to travel through the mountains and sleep in a tent?
There are lots of reasons why people enjoy camping. However, one of the most noteworthy ones is the fact that it improves their mental health.
Still on the fence about joining your friends on their next campout?
This guide breaks down some of the mental health benefits of camping. It also provides some tips on how you can get the most out of your next night under the stars.
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
More than two-thirds of people report retreating to nature when they begin feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Spending time in nature can lower your stress hormones (namely, cortisol) and help you feel more relaxed. A mere 20 minutes outdoors can lead to impressive reductions in stress. Imagine what kinds of results you could see after 24 hours!
In addition to combating stress, camping and being in nature can also minimize symptoms of anxiety disorders. One study even showed that people who spent time around a wide range of plants and animals — like those you would find at most campgrounds — were less anxious than those who did not.
Increase Energy and Vitality
If you’ve been struggling with fatigue and feeling drained, going camping and spending some time in nature could be exactly what you need. Being in nature can increase your energy levels and boost your vitality.
Research shows that exposure to the great outdoors can give you more energy. This makes it easier for you to meet the demands of everyday life — going to work, taking care of your kids, etc. — without feeling burnt out. As a bonus, it can also boost your immune system and make you more resilient to various physical illnesses.
Improve Focus and Cognitive Abilities
The results of this study showed that adults who lived near green spaces had higher levels of attentional function compared to those who didn’t have easy access to nature.
The study also showed that people who spend time in nature experience improvements in their working memory and cognitive flexibility.
Taking a break from city life and going on a camping trip could be exactly what you need to reset your brain and come back feeling more energized, focused, and ready to perform at a higher level.
Exercise in a New Environment
When you read about the benefit of increased endorphins from spending time in nature, you might have assumed it’s not relevant to you. Perhaps you thought, “I already exercise regularly, I don’t need endorphins from camping.”
Going camping could still be beneficial even if you’re already an active person. It gives you a chance to exercise in a new environment, which can challenge you and help you feel more accomplished. This can boost your self-esteem and leave you feeling more confident in yourself and your abilities.
Get Better Sleep
An astounding one-third of adults in the U.S. don’t get enough sleep (at least 7 hours per night).
Many people find that they get better sleep when they go camping. Being away from screens and relaxing in nature can be the perfect recipe for a great night’s sleep.
When you sleep more deeply, you will likely find that you’re less stressed and experience better mental health across the board.
Reset Your Circadian Rhythm
You might also find that you sleep better and feel more alert when you come home from your camping trip because being in nature can reset your circadian rhythm.
The circadian rhythm is the body’s 24-hour internal clock. It helps you stay alert during the day and sleep deeply at night, and it also controls various bodily functions, including your metabolism.
Modern life makes it easier for our circadian rhythms to get interrupted. Looking at a phone screen before bed can cause us to feel alert when we’re supposed to be sleeping, for example.
Being away from screens and artificial light for at least 24 hours does a great job of resetting the circadian rhythm, helping us to get more in touch with our bodies, and improving our sleep.
As we mentioned above, quality sleep can improve mental health and help us to feel less stressed throughout the day.
Ready to Enjoy Some Camping Health Benefits?
Now that you know more about the mental health benefits of camping, are you ready to give it a try? Keep the tips discussed above in mind so you can make the most out of your camping trip and maximize your health benefits.
If you need to invest in some quality camping equipment, Cascade Mountain Tech can help. From coolers and camp furniture to bedding and apparel, we’ve got everything you need to stock up for your next trip.