12 Ways Traveling Can Boost Your Health
Who doesn’t love a good trip? It’s a chance to unwind, meet new people, learn and experience new things, and check another one off the bucket list. From pursuing favorites hobbies such as skydiving in Switzerland or strolling through Parisian museums, to getting wonderfully lost on a drive between Santa Fe and San Diego or trying Mamma’s pizza in Florence, travel opens us up and heightens our experience of being alive. Did you know that it also boosts health, nourishes the immune system and mental state, and can increase your life expectancy? After reading this, you may find yourself booking a ticket or packing the car!
You’ve probably been in a situation where you had a problem and couldn’t get away from it, no matter how hard you tried. Stepping away from a problem is often the best way to find a solution and there’s no better way to step away that to take a vacation. Time and distance can bring a new perspective on your problem. Most likely, you’ll return with an answer in hand or maybe with the realization that your problem wasn’t such a big deal after all. Problems often shrink while traveling to new environments since we are presented with new situations to navigate and have to more understanding of our lives by stepping away from them.
Catch Some ZZZ’s
Most people are sleep deprived. Although it’s recommended to get eight or more hours each night, many survive on less than seven hours. Getting adequate sleep boosts immune function, makes it easier to lose weight and helps with mental clarity and health. A vacation is a time when you can leave the alarm clock at home and regain all of the health benefits of getting those extra zzz’s.
Say Goodbye to Stress
Stress is an all too common word today. From taxing jobs and the day-to-day stresses of balancing work, family and home, many people aren’t even aware of this culprit until it compromises their immune system and steals their health. And, whoa, does it ever. It is now common knowledge that many health ailments and diseases are the byproduct of too much stress. Taking a vacation can take you out of the very environment that keeps you unable to relax and give you the healing, peaceful oasis that can calm your nerves and ease your worries. Vacations give you time to do all the stress-free activities that your heart desires: reading a book while lying on the beach, going for a long, leisure walk, or taking time to watch the sun disappear on the horizon.
Add a Splash of Humor
It’s been proven that laughter is a healing medicine and while everyday life can be lacking in humor, trips are full of spontaneity so you’re guaranteed plenty of giggles when you get lost, confuse words in foreign languages, or try surfing for the first time. Get your laugh on and book that ticket!
Lower Your Risk For Many Health Issues
Lower your stress, boost your confidence and joy, get better sleep, and you’ve got yourself a great recipe for better health. All of these can be gained through travel. From lowering your risk of heart disease and cancer, to lowering anxiety and depression, vacations are sure to give you the boost you need for better health.
Say Bye-Bye To the Blues
Traveling can be a wonderful cure for depression. The Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies did a study on how traveling affects depression. They found that people who travel experience less sadness and stress. Got the blues? Start looking a cities you’d like to visit.
Keep Your Mind Astute
There is the old adage, “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” and that is certainly true of the mind. Using your mind to solve problems, whether that’s a crossword puzzle or navigating the roads from Rome to Florence, is a healthy way to keep your mind creative and able. Travel offers the opportunity to figure out new places, foods, languages and environment, all a boost for the longevity of your brain.
Boost Your Self Esteem
Feeling confident is great for your health. Confident people exude warmth and ease which balances out illness-causing stress. How does travel help? When you take a trip, you usually get over inhibitions, become more extroverted, solve problems on the fly and try new things. Whether it’s asking a stranger for directions or trying surfing for the first time, these are all accomplishments that boost confidence and will have you feeling stronger and more capable by the end of your trip.
Your Daily Dose of Exercise
Whether you’re climbing Kilimanjaro, walking around ancient ruins and museums, or hiking down the Pacific coast, chances are you’ll get more exercise than usual when you’re on vacation. Add to that the addition vitamin D from extra sun exposure and you can look forward to your next health-boosting trip, and maybe fitting back into those skinny jeans.
Lower Your Risk of Dementia
We’ve already addressed that traveling is great for keeping your mind sharp, but this may also extend beyond your day to day functioning. Traveling may actually help you ward off dementia. Research has shown that retired people who travel have lower instances of dementia. Double up: bring your crossword puzzle with you on your beach vacation.
More Kisses and Better Relationships
Whether you want to stop and smell the roses together or just get away from your problems, vacations can be a great cure for a stale or struggling relationship, or help a good one stay healthy and strong. Three quarters of adults attribute vacations for making their relationships healthier. You can re-ignite the fire, take the time to have an uninteruppted conversation over dinner and well, have more sex. You’ll emerge a renewed couple with memories to last a lifetime.
Science has proven that making time for a vacation means expanding your potential lifespan. A 2013 study of Americans showed just that: travel leads to a longer life. For women, two vacations per year lowered their risk of heart attack, compared with those who only got away every six years. And by not taking a yearly break, men increased their chances of heart disease by 30% and had a 20% higher risk of death. Now, if that doesn’t motivate you to look at plane tickets today…