When life feels stressful or overwhelming, most of us want to escape – somewhere away from the stresses and struggles – to rest. And many of us find that escape and rest in nature. 

According to Health, nature sounds alone are associated with “a decrease in the body’s sympathetic response (which causes that “fight-or-flight” feeling) and an increase in parasympathetic response – the one that helps the body relax and function in normal circumstances.”  

In this article, we will be discussing the benefits of backpacking in nature – both for physical health and mental wellbeing. 

1. Backpacking Relaxes the Mind and Body 

Backpacking Relaxes the Mind and Body 
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One of the things people love most about backpacking in the great outdoors is how much it relaxes the mind and body. As human beings, we want to spend time in nature. We need to spend time in nature. It does our bodies and our minds good to get away from the hustle and bustle or our busy lives and to unwind in the quiet of the countryside or the serenity of the forest

Once upon a time, humans used to spend most of their time in nature – living and working in the wild. However, nowadays a high volume of the population lives in what we often refer to as ‘urban jungles’. 

Cities like Los Angeles, for example, are hubs of life and energy. However, many people living here (as with many other cities) report struggling with their mental health because of the constant noise and bustle. That’s why many cities, just like Los Angeles, have set up retreats and treatment centres where those struggling can seek mental health support. 

Over the years, there have been many studies carrying out research into the benefits of spending time in nature. Cynthia Frantz, a professor of psychology and environmental studies at Oberlin College in Ohio, shares how, “spending time in nature has cognitive benefits, but it also has emotional and existential benefits.” Simply spending more time in nature can make you feel more alive, more connected with the world around you, and more relaxed as you consider your place in it. 

2. Backpacking Increases Your Physical Stamina 

Backpacking isn’t all smiles and sunny days. It can be hard work. You’ve got to carry everything you need on your back and, depending on whether you’re camping out or not, this can equate to quite a lot of stuff! So, it is reasonable to expect that after a couple of hours trekking you may start to feel a little worn out. 

This is one of the many reasons why people love backpacking – it’s a great way to increase your physical stamina. Exercise that gets you sweating and your heart pumping can leave you feeling a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. What’s more, you can really shed pounds, tone your legs, and increase your heart health. 

3. Backpacking Sheds the Pounds 

Backpacking Sheds the Pounds 
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Obesity rates in the USA are constantly climbing and in the aftermath of the pandemic, the speed of this increase has only increased. Unfortunately, in the United States, 36.5% of adults are considered medically obese and another 32.5% of adults are considered overweight. Those shocking statistics tell us that over two-thirds of American adults struggle with their weight. This is concerning for many and is causing a plethora of life-threatening health problems. 

Backpacking, while an enjoyable pastime for many, is a great way to stay fit and active all while doing an activity you love. With hours of walking each day, the weight of a heavy backpack, and the ever-changing natural terrain to follow, you will soon find yourself shedding the pounds. 

Backpacking is widely considered a great form of exercise and is typically more strenuous than walking due to the uneven terrain found outside urban environments. If you want to lose weight and get fit, backpacking is a beneficial way to achieve your fitness goals. 

4. Backpacking Supports Good Bone Health 

Another benefit of backpacking is that it supports good bone health. Most of us don’t consider how healthy our bones are day-to-day. However, keeping your bones healthy can reduce your chances of experiencing health issues like osteoporosis and arthritis in the future. And because backpacking is a weight bearing exercise, it is a brilliant way to strengthen your bones and keep your body fit and healthy.  

According to Harvard Health Publishing, “numerous studies have shown that weight-bearing exercise can help to slow bone loss, and several show it can even build bone. Activities that put stress on bones stimulate extra deposits of calcium and nudge bone-forming cells into action. The tugging and pushing on bone that occur during strength and power training provide stress. The result is stronger, denser bones.” 

5. Backpacking Reduces Stress 

Backpacking Reduces Stress 
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As we mentioned at the start of this article, stress plays a big part in our everyday lives. Whether it’s stress caused by work, family commitments, or something else entirely, the amount of stress our bodies go through on a regular basis can have a big effect on our health. 

When the body becomes stressed, it produces a hormone called cortisol that triggers our fight or flight response. This is why, so often, we want to escape somewhere quiet during times of high pressure. Continuous stress can have a significant impact on mental health, causing many to seek support for mental health struggles such as anxiety, depression, and addiction. 

Taking time out in nature can provide a great support to those with mental health struggles. Whether you choose to get outside for a walk, a hike or a camping adventure, the simple act of being in nature can have a profoundly calming effect on your mind. 

In fact, according to research by the University of Colorado at Boulder, “New research has found that people who spent more time in green spaces reported less anxiety and depression during the first year of the pandemic. Merely having abundant green space nearby, as measured by satellite images, was associated with lower depression scores.” There have been many studies now that have backed this up, claiming that those who spend time outside tend to be happier, healthier, and less stressed. 

Final Words 

As you can see, there are numerous benefits of backpacking in nature and some you may not have expected! Of course, there are so many more benefits we could have mentioned, but we wanted to focus on some of the most significant in this article. We hope this article has shed some light on the benefits of spending time in nature and the added physical and mental benefits of backpacking.