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Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Nature

So, you’re sitting at your desk, looking out the window and experiencing that familiar desire to “get away”. You picture yourself laying on the sand and listening to waves lapping the shore. You feel the sun on your face and hear the beautiful chirp of birds. Or maybe you're gazing from a mountain top with peaks as far as your eyes can see.

What do all these ideas have in common? Natural landscapes.

natural settings draw campers because of the mental and physical benefits

Nature draws in humans because at our core we know it is beneficial. At New Age Travel and Services, we are nature enthusiasts. We also love our campervan camping trips (no surprise there). The mountains, lakes and forests are our favourite places.

So today, we discuss the physical and mental health benefits of the great Canadian Rocky Mountains!

Physical Benefits of Camping

Air Quality

Air quality reports are like golf--you want a low score.

Despite the growing acceptance of the carbon crisis, air quality indices are sadly getting worse. The best benchmarks are in forested areas since plants photosynthesize CO2, water and sunlight to produce oxygen. So, spending time in vegetated areas gives your body more oxygen. You know, that little fundamental ingredient of life. This means it’s good for your health!

According to the Alberta Wilderness Association, forests cover a whopping 61% of Alberta. A quick drive down Highway 40, and you’ll see what they mean. New Age Travel and Services pickup location is a mere 45-minute drive from your next breath of a fresh mountain breeze. With Calgary-based campervan rentals from New Age Travel and Services, wilderness is at your fingertips.

By the way, we recommend a pit stop at one of our favourite spots. Schedule a stop in Kananaskis. Plus, we include the park pass free with every rental!

Phytoncides and Immune Systems

There's a lesser-known health component of forests: phytoncides. Certain forests circulate these beneficial hormones. They are essential oils that trees secrete in "self-defence". Such phytoncides fight off enemies like bacteria, fungi and insects. Yet, studies show they provide support to the human immune system.

Vitamin D

If you've ever spent a winter in the north, you've likely heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is when the sun (or lack thereof) impacts our moods. During this time, we run low on Vitamin D. It's even gained the nickname "the sunshine vitamin” because of its correlation with exposure to sunlight. Humans absorb Vitamin D through “photolysis”. Vitamin D levels handle things like regulating moods.

More sunshine = better mood regulation.

camper enjoying the fresh forest air and mental health benefits of nature

Further, sunshine moderates the human sleep-wake cycle, or your circadian rhythm. Exposure during the day releases the hormone serotonin, AKA the happy hormone.

In the evenings, the brain switches to producing melatonin, which plays a fundamental role in getting good quality sleep. If you make more daytime serotonin, you'll increase nighttime melatonin levels, as well. More sun means better sleep! But, please practice sun safety. Too much of a good thing can become a bad thing.

Truth be told, I have my best sleep in our campervans. Our rentals have comfortable beds for relaxing after a day in the mountains. What's more, we include all the linens, pillows and bed supplies for no extra fee. That's not the case with some of our competitors.

Mental Benefits of Nature

Time in natural environments helps people mentally by displacing or restricting negative thoughts. We can clear our minds, and recharge our attention capacity.

A research group in Europe wanted to put this to the test. They studied University students’ ability to focus in various environments. Settings included nature, the city center, and a passive relaxation area (like a spa). The test concluded that students focused best in nature due to "reduced noise and enhanced cognitive quiet".

In another study on "Forest Bathing", scientists measured hormone levels in participants. Intentional, mindful walks in the forest decreased cortisol and adrenaline levels. These are the hormones related to the body's standard stress response. Decreasing those is a good thing for your overall well-being.

So Get Camping!

Are you looking for a getaway? Let New Age Travel and Services help. So often we hear people's need to “get away”. Luckily Kananaskis, Jasper National Park and Banff National Park are all within a quick drive from our office.

campervan parked in a forested campground benefiting from the canadian rockies

Contact New Age Travel and Services today to rent a campervan and get back to nature!


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