Travel is Good for Your Health

Pack your bags and go on a trip

If it’s been a while since you’ve taken a vacation, and you’re feeling stressed and out of sorts, a vacation might be exactly what the doctor ordered.

A study by the U.S. Travel Association showed that travel improves mood, relieves stress, prevents dementia and Alzheimer's disease and those who took more frequent leisure trips or vacations decreased their risk of developing heart disease, according to Kimberly Ramsawak, founder of Tourism Exposed.

“The many intangible health benefits of travel are that it's rejuvenating, can be intellectually stimulating, turns you into a well-rounded person, gives you the opportunity to meet people from different cultures and try and experience new things, and allows you to forget about your responsibilities (work, family, etc.) even if for the short-term and just relax,” she said.

Travel is Good for Your Health

Why you should travel more

More people are becoming health buffs. It seems that we are getting more concerned about our bodies and, in fact, a lot of people are engaging in physical activities, and some are very cautious with what they eat. But adding travel to your lifestyle can make you healthier, according to Dalia Lourençom, a video travel blogger.

Physical benefits

When we travel, more often than not, we plan activities. Some of which are outdoor ones as we have that urge to be with nature. It’s a quick escape from our usual routine of being inside the offices and campuses. And when we say outdoor activities, it includes hiking, swimming, and surfing, even as far as bungee jumping or sky-diving. Regardless of whatever outdoor activity you choose, it would definitely require some flexing of muscles and joints, Lourencom said.

Intellectual benefits

Even prior your adventure, you are already stimulating your brain cells. Normally before you hit the road or catch your flight, you would already do some research about the destination. Most likely you would be reading about the do’s and don’ts to learn about the culture, she said.

Experts even encourage people to travel as exposing your brain to a new environment literally improves mental or intellectual health. When you are in a different place, your brain adapt to the changes and challenges. Such reaction of the brain can sprout dendrites that can grow its capabilities, she said.

Psychological benefits

Even if you don’t notice it, traveling can improve the way you behave. In fact, those who travel alone reap the psychological beneftis even more. The small talks with your roommate at the local hostel, that quick exchange with your seatmate at the train, or the brief discussion with the locals can do great things to your psychological health. You will learn to adapt to the person you are talking to since people from different countries have different perspectives, she said.

Live an active, happy life

“The research is very clear on this: active people are healthier, live longer, and enjoy a better quality of life than those who are sedentary,” said Jared Miracle, M.Ed., Ph.D. and anthropologist for the Ocean University of China.

“That doesn't just go for fitness enthusiasts. Just getting out of the house and seeing the world can fulfill your required daily activity needs and improve biometrics like blood pressure and insulin sensitivity,” Miracle said.

In addition, travel is great for your brain. “We know for certain that people who seek out new experiences on a regular basis have greater longevity. It's also been shown that speaking more than one language can stave off cognitive decline like Alzheimer's and dementia. If you want to stay sharp, get out and travel to a different country. For these reasons, it's also great for kids. Children are language sponges and you'll be giving them a big boost in life by taking them on trips early,” he said.

Personal experience

Anthony, who blogs at The Travel Tart, said he finds travel good for his mental and physical health.

“I find that because going to new places triggers new pathways in my brain, it wakes up a lot of senses that seem to be dulled when staying somewhere familiar like your hometown. For example, new types of food that you've never tried before, or new sights. I find that I experience reverse culture shock whenever I come home from abroad,” he said.

“I also lose weight when I go travelling because I'm normally out and about walking all day checking things out instead of being stuck behind a desk. So for me, there's a physical benefit too,” he explained.

Travel is obviously beneficial to your mental and physicial well being. So take it upon yourself to schedule time off from work and book a vacation. Your health will thank you.

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