These days, there’s a lot to distract one’s mind from the swoll v. bird guide debate. And the truth is that with such hectic commutes, hitting the gym on your way home from the office makes a lot more sense than hitting the trail. Here at Hipcamp, we believe in the balance offered up by Saturday and Sunday, and the everlasting promise of getting jacked during the week and tan in the great outdoors on your days off. To help you justify this lifestyle to your friends that think time off is for going to the gym and then getting smoothies, we offer this research-based round-up. Have them read it on the way to the trailhead (or to the gym).
Being in nature reduces stress and stress-related illnesses.
Nothing sponges up your crazy like open spaces without concrete. Observing birds and trees is not only a great reminder that internet drama doesn’t really matter, but also serves as a way for your body’s stress systems to wind-down. Studies show that walking through the woods lowers everything from blood pressure to cholesterol (1). As the ages-old parable goes, “what pieces of the soul Tinder breaks, timber restores.”
Air quality is better in nature.
Sickey office air is gross, and so is the waft of afternoon traffic exhaust. Thankfully, some smarties crunched some particulate matter and proved that air quality is better out in nature than it is inside our work lives (2). So even having a Catan marathon on a camping trip can be described as healthier than staying at home! #justified
Natural Stimuli > Screen Stimuli.
With so many lifestyle blogs, who has time to really stop and think?!? People who are outside do, silly. Paying attention to the natural world allows you to focus haphazardly on the little things—the sun through trees, bugs buzzing around, ducks eating squirrels—while ruminating on the big important ones, like “what should I write my novel about,” or “when should I move to another job,” or “why do all my clothes smell like toothpaste?” This is backed up by both psychologists and reputable humans (2), which brings us to our next point…
Walking in nature makes your brain more creative.
Stanford says so! Nothing is more fun than citing Stanford studies when you go out for a hike… except coming back to the office with renewed clarity and insight into your latest project (3).
It’s free if you know where to look.
Thanks to the internet—and with a nod to the gods of irony—finding trails and campsites that fit your piggy bank has never been easier. You don’t have to try ‘em all, but here are a few dirt-flavored bullet points to chew on:
Syllables and sass by Aaron Altabet
Aaron is one of Hipcamp’s loving and dedicated Interns this spring. He is a lover of dogs and boats and cheese, and often prioritizes hiking over purchasing office supplies. You can follow his decontextualized movements from Maine to the West Coast on Instagram.
Sick Pic: Hipcamper Anna Donlan
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