A growing number of studies are showing what a lot of us already know—getting outside, and away from modern distractions, can improve not only your physical health but your mental health as well. Soaking in good old Mother nature has been shown to reduce blood pressure, give a boost to your digestion, ratchet up your immune system, lift your mood while reducing stress, and even reset your circadian rhythm, helping you to sleep better. There’s no doubt about it, hitting the great outdoors is one of the best activities you can do for your overall health.
When it comes to reaping the benefits of being outside, research has shown that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. A study in 2019 found that folks could see similar health benefits if they did a single 2-hour hike each week, or spent just 20 minutes a day in a green space, as long as they spent at least 120 minutes in nature each week. And while you’ll see positive health benefits walking in the woods every day, you may see even bigger benefits disconnecting for even longer stints.
While hiking is excellent for burning calories and breathing in the fresh air, camping gives you even more bang for your recreational buck. Camping requires regular physical activity to ensure an enjoyable experience—hiking to your campsite, collecting firewood, preparing food, setting up your tent, etc. We can’t recommend getting outside enough and encourage everyone to take up this holistic activity.
Disconnecting from civilization can be therapeutic, however, we also realize the thought of disengaging from your routine—even for a few days—can be a bit stressful. So, when you set out for the great outdoors this summer (maybe even this weekend!), keep these tips in mind to help you stay on plan.
Plan and prep! If you’re going with others, make sure you know what food you are responsible for and what others are bringing. Bring extra ShiftSetGo foods to supplement, just in case the food your friends or family brings doesn’t support your plan. Pre-chop and pre-measure plenty of veggies. Hard boil eggs. Pre-cook proteins like ground sausage, chicken, or beef. Pack enough Walden Farms syrups, dressings, ketchup, BBQ sauce, healthy oils, ShiftSetGo bars, chips, drinks, fuel bars, BCAAs, and supplements.
Bring lots of water and electrolytes. Hiking and being out in the sun will mean you need to hydrate. Remember that you can never have too much water. If you’re packing light, consider bringing a personal, portable water filter to ensure you don’t get thirsty. If others bring alcohol, it will be nice to have a “mocktail” with a water enhancer and some sparkling water.
Know your triggers. Will the s’mores get you? If so, bring a chocolate wafer and some Walden Farms Marshmallow Dip and make your own. Will the chips and snack foods trigger you? Bring some ShiftSetGo Nacho Crisps and Pico de Gallo with you.
Bring lots of veggies. You can season them and roast them on the campfire. They are also a great way to munch on something while everyone else is eating junk.
Breakfast Scramble. Combine your pre-cooked ground protein, prepped chopped veggies, and 2 eggs for a delicious way to start your day.
Kabobs. Oh, the possibilities! Load your skewer up with chopped veggies and assorted proteins. Don’t forget your favorite seasoning!
Hobo Stew. Apply a light layer of olive oil to the bottom of a sheet of tin foil. Add small, diced-up pieces of meat and pile on as many chopped veggies as you can. Add seasonings to taste. Fold all sides and corners of the foil together so it’s fully sealed. Set this directly on the coals, rotating every 5-10 minutes (depending on the size of your coals and flames). After 25 minutes or so, you’ll have an excellent, fire-roasted stew. *NOTE: If you’re stage one, dice up and weigh the meat at home.
S’mores. You’ve got a couple of options here. You can simply enjoy a ShiftSetGo Dark S’mores bar, or you can make a ShiftSetGo chocolate wafer cookie sandwich with Walden Farms marshmallow as the filling.
Regardless of how long you decide to get outside, always remember to enjoy the time and experience. You’re going to forget things and it won’t always be smooth sailing. No matter what though, always try to notice the little things, appreciate those you’re camping with, and take the time to be grateful for how far you’ve come. Shift your focus from the food to the myriad of other physical and mental health benefits you’re getting. And the scenery ain’t half bad either.