Outdoors Made Easy

Camping: The Best Medicine, Even When You’re Feeling Good

Guest Post from Coleman
Author: Jaimie Robinson

One of the best motivators to getting out and exploring our national parks is to remind ourselves what we have to gain. While it’s impossible to measure all the benefits of getting away from home to camp for a few days, scientists are studying some of those bonuses.

There are the oldies but goodies like taking in some sun to help get that Vitamin D flowing for strong bones. But did you know that same vitamin may also help keep your blood pressure down and help prevent some cancers? (Mayo Clinic, 2010)

Most of us have had those days when new focus is just a short walk outside away. Now research shows spending time in naturally green areas helps melt away symptoms of ADHD in kids. Yeah. The scientists say all those little things going on around the youngsters helps get the right mechanisms in their brains going like they’re supposed to. (Frances E. Kuo, 2004)

The outdoors is even helping kids see better by cutting down on nearsightedness. The scientists who researched this say the sunlight helps exercise the pupils and that allows children to focus better on things far away. (McBrien, Morgan, & Mutti)

Trust us; you’ll feel the benefits of camping once you get out there. People who spend a lot of time enjoying themselves outside rated their health at a 7.5 on a 10-scale, compared to the 6.6 from people who tend to stay inside. And the benefits are something you’ll feel. Those same outdoor enthusiasts gave their fitness a 6.4 when others felt more like a 4.9. (The Outdoor Foundation, 2010)

More people are experiencing the benefits because they’re finding things to do outside. Last year camping, both tent and RV, saw more people taking part. Activities that often accompany a stay outdoors like bicycling, kayaking and running also saw a jump. (The Outdoor Foundation, 2010)

It’s up to parents to get their young kids involved in this kind of stuff because moms and dads influence kids most when it comes to picking up these healthy hobbies. Don’t believe us? A poll of outdoorsy kids ages 6-10 shows 75% took part at their parents’ urging. That number drops to 30% when tweens turn to teens and their friends have more say in their decisions. (The Outdoor Foundation, 2010)

So come on, dig out that tent and get back to nature. If you haven’t been before, find some buddies and make a go of it. Your mind and body will thank you—along with your family and friends.

If you still need more motivation, here are the top ten reasons campers tell us they just have to schedule a meeting or two…or five with nature every year.
Top 10 Reasons People Go Camping (The Outdoor Foundation and The Coleman Company, 2010)

  1. It’s fun.
  2. It’s relaxing.
  3. It gets them out of their usual routines.
  4. It’s a chance for them to discover and explore.
  5. It gives campers an opportunity to exercise.
  6. It offers new experiences.
  7. It’s part of a healthy lifestyle.
  8. It’s a chance to spend time with friends.
  9. It’s an opportunity to participate in outdoor activities near home.
  10. It’s full of challenges.

References

Frances E. Kuo, P. a. (2004). A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence From a National Study. American Journal of Public Health.

Mayo Clinic. (2010, 7 8). MayoClinic.com. Retrieved 10 26, 2010, from Vitamin D: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-d/NS_patient-vitamind

McBrien, N. A., Morgan, I. G., & Mutti, D. O. (n.d.). What’s Hot in Myopia Research-The 12th International Myopia Conference, Australia, July 2008. Retrieved 10 26, 2010, from http://journals.lww.com/optvissci/Fulltext/2009/01000/What_s_Hot_in_Myopia_Research_The_12th.2.aspx

The Outdoor Foundation and The Coleman Company. (2010). Special Report on Camping. The Outdoor Foundation and The Coleman Company.

The Outdoor Foundation. (2010). Outdoor Recreation Participation Report. Boulder: The Outdoor Foundation.

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