“Go outside and play!” How many times did we hear that as kids? It seems our parents were definitely on to something, as the health benefits of being outdoors are varied and wide-reaching. But being close to nature is not the only thing that geocaching has going for it, with going to events and solving puzzles also having great rewards.
I had a look at what some experts had to say about various activities that are part of geocaching and I made a list of 8 ways geocachers benefit from their hobby.
1. Boosts Immunity
Since 2004, the Japanese government has invested millions of dollars researching shinrin-yoku, or forest-bathing. The idea is to reap the health benefits of being close to nature and walking through a forest. Researchers brought middle-aged business men in to the forest outside Tokyo for twice daily hikes over a period of three days and found that the activity levels of ‘natural killer’ cells (NK cells) increased by 56% after day two. NK activity were used as, “an indicator of immune function, particularly as an indicator of anticancer activity.”
So the next time someone looks at you funny for saying you’re going geocaching, just tell them you’re practicing the Japanese therapy of shinrin-yoku instead 😉
2. Relieves Stress
The research team also measured levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the subject’s saliva and found the levels significantly lower in the forest environment. Even proximity to green spaces in more urban areas can result in lower stress levels, meaning just a walk in a local park to pick up some caches can help you relax.
3. Taps in to your Creativity
Psychologists at the University of Utah and the University of Kansas found that being in touch with nature made subjects scores on a creativity test soar. No wonder then, that there are so many creative caches out there!
4. Improves Memory
Doing a variety of puzzles can be very beneficial to your mental health. A US Study of older priests and nuns found that subjects who undertook diverse cognitive activities, including reading a newspaper and doing puzzles were 47% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Boosts Mental Health
A 2010 study funded by the National Institutes of Heatlh in the US measured various factors including diet, supplements and exercise and found that cognitive training was most closely linked to a decreased risk of mental decline. If you feel like you’re not getting anywhere with puzzle caches, at least you’re giving your brain a workout trying to solve them! Every cloud 😉
6. Gets You Moving
I don’t need to refer to any studies on the health advantages of exercising; the benefits are well known and plentiful. If you need extra motivation to get outside and get moving (and I know I do!), just make a geocache your reward at the end and you’ll be in better shape before you know it, reaping the rewards including reduced risk of heart disease and strengthening of bones and muscles.
7. Promotes Eustress
Eustress is a type of ‘positive’ stress that you get when you do something you find fun, like riding a roller coaster or driving a go-kart. Assuming that you go geocaching because it makes you happy, then chances are the thrill of making the find is releasing eustress, which is really important to stay mentally happy.
8. Reduces Symptoms of Depression
Researchers at University College Dublin found that “going out for coffee or chatting to a friend can reduce the symptoms of depression.” Just in case you needed another excuse to attend that geocaching event! I recently read this article about Joel Leaman, who found that geocaching helps him with his depression and anxiety.
The next time someone asks you ‘what’s the point?’, be sure to tell them all about the benefits of our awesome hobby. Is there such thing as a healthy obsession? I think geocaching proves that there is!
How has geocaching benefited your life? Let me know in the comments!
© 2016 | Sarah Murphy | All Rights Reserved
10 thoughts on “Geocaching is Good For You: 8 Reasons Why | The Geocaching Junkie”
You forgot one – geogaching takes you places you might never have found without the lure of another cache to discover!
That is very healthy too Julie. Great comment!
[…] Geocaching is Good For You: 8 Reasons Why […]
[…] There’s no doubt that the skills I’ve gained and the lessons I’ve learned as a geocacher came to the fore when in the Escape Room. Another reason why geocaching is good for you! […]
I just started geocaching last year when I went on a hike and randomly found a container. Of course my curiosity made me look into it. 1 year and 5 months later, I have 781 finds and now know about many places that I have lived near (within 30 miles) all my life and didn’t know about before. Plus, within the past 6 months, I have gotten really into puzzle caches and have a few of my own. I love to do hiking caches over urban areas, but will try any if nearby.
Wow! What a great way to start caching by randomly finding a container like that 🙂
I didn’t realise why it appeals to me. Now I do. 🙂
My only proviso is that I’m not enthused by going to wonderful places to find crap caches. Or indeed finding crap caches in crap places.
Something which Geocaching was never intended to provide. However my peer group round here openly and wilfully ignore the spirit & rules of Geocaching by creating crap caches in wonderful and crap places.
No effort req’d. Any shattered Tupperware or old jar will do? Nope. 🙁
Effort costs nothing. Be creative! Be proud of your caches!
Then watch the Faves roll in………and then understand why other Geocachers love your efforts. And why your caches are visited more than all the rest in your area. 🙂
I do get frustrated with almost all French Geoposeurs. That’s where I now live & operate. And I am becoming ever more frustrated with Geocaching. com Reviewers for allowing those lost souls to destroy the ideals & good reputation of the activity.
It is always possible to square the Quality vs Quantity issue in every location. However my peer group do not view stuff like PinInterest nor other mainly English Language websites to learn more about their chosen hobby. They simply do what most others around them do (and think that’s fine). Oops.
I’m called Spotted: Correze on Geocaching.com.
Ignore my Find number. Changed my pseudo. 🙂
We are borh fetired, and since the family bought us a GPS last Christmas, we havent looked back. We have an excellent excuse to go out walking, we push our bodies further than we would without geocaching, we have made new friends of all ages, and get a buzz from putting out new caches for others o find. It is a fabulous hobby for people of all agrs!
I couldn’t agree more 🙂
[…] Geocaching is Good For You: 8 Reasons Why (The Geocaching Junkie) […]