There are few things more memorable than sitting by a bonfire on a chilly night surrounded by those that are closest to you. It feels good, but is sitting by a fire good for you? It turns out that it’s just what the doctor ordered. Here are only a few reasons why sitting by a fire can do wonders for your health.
A recent study shows that sitting by the campfire lowers blood pressure. The study took the blood pressure of 226 adults before and after watching a video of a fire – not even a real fire – and it showed a five percent decrease in blood pressure. They also discovered that the longer an individual watched the fire, the calmer they became. Researchers theorized that this has something to do with our evolution. For hundreds of years, a fire meant safety, warmth, and a full stomach, so it triggers our brain to let its guard down.
Lowering your blood pressure is great, but there are a lot of ways that being by the fire can benefit your mental health. Just being around good friends and trading stories is enough to make your serotonin levels fly. Fire delights almost all of the senses which keeps you in the moment and ignites creativity.
It may seem like an afterthought, but one of the main benefits of sitting by a fire is to keep warm. For the most part, you are going to choose to sit by the fire, but in some instances sitting by the fire for warmth is a necessity for survival. Taking survival out of the equation, keeping warm by the fire is still good for your body.
It may seem like a stretch, but the light given off by a fire is good for you. Having a strong light source allows you to move freely around the area without worry of bumping into anything. If you are out in the woods, the light lets you see more around you, but also keeps would be woodland visitors from making an appearance.
How does a fire prevent disease? Mosquitoes don’t like smoke. If you are outside, being by the fire is the place to be to keep the bugs away. Some shepherds in Africa build smoky fires and have their cattle gather in the smoke to keep them safe from disease-carrying insects. I’ve been around a lot of campfires, and I can tell you that this is not a surefire method, but it helps.
There are a lot of benefits to sitting by a fire, but there are a few risks too. Though they are few and far between, it is important to know what could go wrong. Fire, by nature, is dangerous and you should always have a plan to put out a fire if a stray log or even ash starts a fire where it shouldn’t be. The most important risk factor to be aware of is breathing smoke from your fire. Just like smoke from other sources, it can have carcinogens or materials that irritate your lungs and make you uncomfortable for a short amount of time. As long as you don’t breath in heavy smoke for long periods, you shouldn’t experience any adverse effects.
Sitting by the fire may have some small health risks, but they don’t nearly compare with all of the benefits it has. Being by the fire makes you calmer, safer, and more creative. If this doesn’t make you want to light a fire in the backyard right now, then I think it’s time for an intervention.Follow Us