The simple answer is yes. Camping and associated outdoor pursuits have been shown to improve our wellbeing in a number of basic yet crucial ways.
Here’s some science behind why it’s a good idea, in this instance at least, to take your parents’ advice.
1. Camping gets you more active
While you’re exploring your surroundings in an active way your body is releasing chemicals called endorphins, which trigger positive and energising feelings that combat stress. They’re a natural mood booster that can help you shake off the strains of your daily life in minutes.
2. Camping resets your circadian rhythms
Circadian rhythms are our physical, mental and behavioural changes that occur over a 24-hour cycle. They influence important aspects of our physiology such as the regulation of body temperature and hormone release, as well as affecting our sleep and wake cycles.
Recent studies have suggested that the invention of electric light has caused disruption to these cycles, as it has enabled us to spend more time out of the sunlight during the day and stay up deep into the night. Camping and caravanning holidays mean we are more exposed to natural light during the day and less influenced by electricity at night. They therefore help the body’s natural rhythms to synchronise with solar time, improving sleep and readjusting our internal functions to a more natural state.
3. Camping gets you out in the fresh air
4. Camping reduces stress
Getting out of the daily rat race is an obvious way to relieve stress. There’s no commute to face, no office politics to negotiate and no deadlines to meet. For a well deserved week or two you can forget about it all and spend quality time with your family.
Campsite life is also about community and provides a perfect chance to meet likeminded people. Sitting down for a drink at the bar with the family on the next pitch or chatting to someone new at the poolside is a good way to stimulate positive feelings and keep stress at bay.
5 Camping gives you the D factor
It’s common knowledge that a daily dose of sunshine is good for you, but few of us really know why. Sunlight promotes the production of vitamin D in the skin, which supports calcium absorption to keep your bones strong. Getting sufficient vitamin D from your diet is difficult, so some exposure to sunshine without sunscreen can be beneficial. Experts recommend around ten minutes of unprotected exposure during a cooler part of the day, after which the necessary precautions – sunscreen, hats and the like – are strongly advised.