The Outdorian Magazine - Page 7



A few nights under the stars does exactly that. In a stripped-
our sleep cycles out of whack and are living through an age
back,
no-bullshit
of perpetual tiredness. The cure? According to the study, as
setting, camping has the ability to foster authentic social
little as one weekend camping is enough to recalibrate your
interactions – whether they be laughs around the campfire
inner clock and start catching some high quality zzz’s.
face-to-face,
teamwork-oriented,
or fights over who misplaced the matches – that simply
can’t be replicated via emails and DMs.
If you’ve ever gotten into a funk in winter you’ll also
understand the power of sunlight as a mood booster.
Research conducted by the Caravan Industry Association
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – a type of depression
of Australia, which explored the social benefits of camping
most common in countries furthest from the equator that
and drew comparisons between campers and non-
experience long winters, short daylight hours and longer
campers, supports the claim that camping can help you
periods cooped up indoors – is not a major concern in most
build stronger relationships. The report found campers
of Australia, but it does speak to the necessity of spending
were more likely to feel close to their partners, children or
time under bright skies for our wellbeing and happiness.
grandchildren, and that they feel happier, more satisfied,
While camping certainly comes with its own special set of
Adam & Mia from Lapping Oz
disconnect to reconnect
more energised, and less lonely than non-campers.
stress-inducing challenges, escaping the clutter of work
Most campers also saw the campground as a classroom for
and home life – the physical, mental and digital mess that
their kids, a place to not only learn about the environment
builds up and bums us out – is yet another reason why
and develop life skills, but to be socially engaged and form
camping can make us feel happier. Numerous studies
connections with other children.
in the past couple of decades have found these various
Overall, 96% of respondents who camp believe camping
can make you happier, and 95% believe it relieves stress.
This isn’t surprising when you consider the combination of
physical exercise and socialising that campers are exposed
to: a powerful mood-boosting cocktail of serotonin,
oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins, the four chemicals
associated with pleasure and happiness. What isn’t so
obvious is the role sunlight plays; influencing not only
healthy levels of arthritis-fighting Vitamin D, but also sleep
quality and mood.
A study conducted by the University of Colorado in 2017
found that our circadian rhythm – the 24 hour clock that
tells us when to sleep and when to wake up – is naturally
aligned to the rising and setting of the sun, rather than
the random times we choose to flick the switch on our
artificial lighting.
forms of clutter to be significant stress triggers, resulting
in heightened anxiety, distraction and loss of productivity.
It could be said, then, that camping is a nod to minimalism.
A buck against rampant consumer culture and the
complexities of modern life; a timely reminder that less is
more. Have you noticed that stress has a way of melting
away when you’re out there with just the bare essentials
and none of the superfluous “stuff”? That the more you
pack and have to be responsible for, the more frazzled
camping trips become? We sure have.
Either way, what’s abundantly clear is the positive responses
we have to the outdoors are the work of numerous factors.
Not just the social aspect nor the exercise. Not the fresh air,
sunlight, sleep quality or minimalistic way of living. Not the
reconnection with our most basic biological roots. All of it –
and if you can think of another recreational activity that has
quite as many benefits as camping does, invite us along. It
With the vast majority of us seeing more LEDs than actual
must be pretty epic.
sunlight throughout the day, the effects of delayed bed
O
times, sleep loss and insomnia are widely felt – we’ve thrown
5

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