Camp for your health: A couple nights in nature can do wonders for your mood

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Pack the car and hit the road. Camping and hiking are two of the safest and easiest activities available to us during the pandemic, and you can do them solo or with friends or family. Even better, both can be done affordably, so everyone can participate.

Of course, there are important things to keep in mind before you camp or hike in the wilderness. Water, food and proper clothing are essential for a safe trip outdoors. Bring a map, and plan your hiking routes ahead of time. Check the weather forecast, and dress for the conditions; bring extra layers, as it gets cold in the desert, along with plenty of sunscreen for the daytime. Pack electrolyte tablets like Nuun to hydrate and add essential minerals back into your body after you sweat, and bring extra snacks if you’re going on a long hike. And more advanced hikers should wear hiking boots and consider using hiking poles, depending on the terrain.

One great thing about nature is that there’s something out there for nearly any level of fitness, and just being outdoors can boost a person’s mood, according to Gregory A. Miller, former president of the American Hiking Society. A casual walk that doesn’t require strenuous movement is still better than spending all day indoors.

And then, there’s the most relaxing part—camping! Make sure to bring a sturdy tent, a warm sleeping bag, sleeping pads and a pillow or blanket—preferably one from home that will make you feel even more comfortable.

Whether you’ve been at the lodge all day or you’ve hiked until your feet are sore, nothing beats a campfire under the stars and sleeping in the fresh air. It’s the sort of much-needed reset we could all use right now.

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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