If your local regulations allow it, and you aren’t able to leave your country without being ‘blocked’ on your return, you and your family probably still want to get out of your home and into a natural setting this summer. And all the studies on the benefits of outdoor time tell us that being out of doors is good for us in some expected and also unexpected ways.
Some of the expected benefits of spending time out of doors are things like breathing cleaner air, feeling happier and freer of stress, getting a higher level of physical exercise and absorbing necessary Vitamin D.
But studies reveal that the health benefits of spending time in nature can be even greater and may reduce risk of developing diabetes II, improving heart health and lowering blood pressure. It would seem that nature has good answers to our daily health problems.
Have you heard of Shinrin Yoku or Forest Bathing? It’s a popular practice in Japan and consists of going into a natural area and sitting, lying down, or walking in that space for the purpose of increasing health. The theory is that phytoncides, organic compounds with antibacterial properties, are released by trees and boost the immune system while reducing inflammation in the body.
Even city dwellers who spend as little as two hours a week in a green space or natural setting report health benefits such as reduced stress, improved short-term memory and better sleep.
Planning a Summer Camp-out
The traditional family camp-out is a popular summer activity in the U.S. Many families have camping gear stowed away for their annual ventures out into nature, while others rent their gear as needed. Family members eat their meals over an open fire or bring along a cook stove of some sort.
Camping trips usually include a variety of family fun activities such as hiking, fishing, boating, and swimming with the possibility of side-trips to local offerings such as museums, bike trails, horseback riding, or various sports activities. The emphasis is on family together time and is definitely a time to unplug from screens and the world of technology.
Due to covid many campsites are either closed or on modified schedules this summer. Go to www.nps.gov/subjects/camping or www.pitchup.com/en-us/campsites/usa for current information on reserving campsites and finding the right spot for your family camping fun.
While some prefer to “rough it,” and want things as simple and down to earth as possible, other campers prefer a bit of comfort as they enjoy nature. Thus, the rise of camping experiences that rise a notch above a sleeping bag on the hard ground inside a tent.
Glamping is a mix of the words glamorous and camping and implies camping amenities not experienced in traditional camping scenarios. Glamping sites provide a more comfortable experience with a large tent area filled with items such as comfortable beds with linens, end tables, clothing racks, lighting features and wooden decks with chairs.
Some glamping sites come with yurts or small Quonset huts and some even offer landscaping of each site. This is a “gentleman’s camping experience.” Go to www.glamping.com for more information on the glamping experience. In Europe, look at https://euroglamping.com
In the U.S. it’s called trailer camping, and in Europe it’s called caravanning. Either way you’ll be taking a trailer-type vehicle to a natural site and making it your headquarters for your outdoor experience.
The beauty of caravanning is the option to get inside and comfortable if the weather should not cooperate and it also provides sleeping arrangements more comfortable than tenting. It is your “home away from home.”
So if you have to change your plans at the last minute, take advantage of all the great health and well-being benefits the outdoors has to offer your family this summer. Get some healthy exercise, sit around the campfire eating, telling stories and enjoying one another’s company. Take some naps, write in a journal, breathe in clean country air and just….enjoy.