emotional health, exercise, health, mental health, nature

Is camping the new miracle health cure?

Well, I’m not one for miracle health cures but I do strongly believe that camping is one way to revitalise the body and soul.  And it’s certainly not a new way to do so either. Although recently, this relatively cheap way to take a short break from the stresses of modern life has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity.

So, given that the peak camping time, the Easter holidays, is approaching, what do so many people have to gain from packing up their car and heading out to sleep under the stars for a few nights?

  1. Fresh air
    • Getting out-of-town and into nature, whether that’s in the bush or by the beach allows you to breathe fresh air.  It’s something that you don’t realise you have missed until you get out of the city.  There’s also something very peaceful about being surrounded by nature – whether that’s big trees, mountains or the ocean.  And then there’s the refreshing sounds of bird calls, creeks bubbling or waves crashing.
  2. Exercise
    • There’s no doubt that going camping means back to basics and that means leaving the modern conveniences at home.  Fetching water for the washing up, then doing the washing up by hand, pitching a tent and taking a walk to use the facilities, all get your body up and moving more than you would at home and that’s a good thing.  And that’s just the incidental exercise.  Add to this the great activities being in nature gives us access to – hiking, climbing, swimming, canoeing and even playing bocce.
  3. Sleep
    • Without lighting from electricity, our body clock very quickly matches up with that of the sun.  I’m sure every camper can relate to the feeling of sleepiness  as they stare up to a clear, starry sky at 7.30pm, when they swear it must be 10.30pm.  On the flip side, with that early night under your belt, an early morning start seems so much easier.  It is a fabulous way to start the day with a view of the sunrise while enjoying a cup of freshly brewed soy chai.  I usually always sleep very well when I’m camping but that does depend on a few things – make sure your bedding is warm and comfortable.  Bring ear plugs if you are a light sleeper.  And set your campsite up securely to protect you from rain and wind (flapping tarps and water in your tent won’t help your sleep at all).  Hello peaceful sleep.
  4. Slow down
    • If the active part (hiking, swimming, exploring etc) of your camping day is in the morning, then the afternoon can be for relaxing.  And it’s so easy to do when you are in a peaceful environment away from the chores of home.  All you need is a camping chair, a camp fire, fine company and a good book.  Add to this the escape from mobile phone reception,  TV and many other electrical devices and life really does slow down.  If you’re really feeling indulgent you can even pop off for an afternoon nap. Ahhhhhhhhh.
  5. Happiness
    • The phrase ‘happy campers’ was coined with good reason.  Research has shown that time in green spaces is good for our mental health.  Spending time with good friends gives us a sense of connection which contributes to our happiness.  Physical exercise, which is unavoidable while camping, also has a positive association with the mood.

So, when’s your next camping trip?

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

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