If you’re struggling to get through the day at work, and the weekend can’t come soon enough, then you know it’s time to plan a vacation. It’s a great way to let loose and rejuvenate your brain.
Travel has a number of benefits that are backed by science. Here’s a few worth mentioning:
1. Fewer Aging Issues
Along with living a longer life, those who travel regularly may also avoid many unpleasant aspects of aging. Wrinkles and sagging skin are bad, but hair loss, especially for women, is a debilitating effect of aging. There are treatments to help reverse the effects of hair loss and other aging factors, but travel is one of the best.
2. Better Mental Health
Those who travel regularly, whether for a weekend trip or a two-week getaway, experience optimum mental health benefits including reduced anxiety, depression, and stress.
Stress negatively affects our mental health. Most of the population reports feeling stressed daily, whether because of work or personal issues. It can lead to depression, anxiety, memory loss, and other mental health issues as you go.
Traveling may be the cure, according to Jacintha Verdegaal, traveler and blogger for the lifestyle blog Urban Pixxels.
“Even though I’m always busy when I travel, whether it’s sightseeing, taking photos or just exploring a destination on foot, I know I’m the calmest and most relaxed when I travel,” Verdegaal told Forbes, traveler and blogger for Urban Pixxels.
3. Heart Health
The Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies published a study on the relationship between frequent traveling and overall health. Their findings showed a positive connection, specifically when it comes to heart health.
Those who went on a relaxing vacation at least twice per year were much less likely to experience a heart attack than those who traveled once every six years or more. They had a 30 percent greater risk of heart disease compared to those who traveled regularly.
4. Social Connection
You might like your peace and quiet, but you need social interaction. The benefits of greater social interaction include boosted mood, reduced depression and anxiety, lower risk of memory loss, more creativity, and greater overall health.
If you struggle with social situations, travel is a great way to combat that. “You are forced into situations where you need to talk to others,” explains Karen Reed of Positive Health Wellness. “This is something that happens even if you decide to travel alone and backpack around a country or a continent. You spend time in youth hostels and on cruises, where some of the only entertainment is with the strangers that you meet.”
“When you…travel with someone else,” Reed continues, “you both find yourself having nothing to do but talk to each other. The connection that you have will be deeper, as you find out more about each other and build on the experiences together. You find joint ways to deal with the deviation from various plans and delays that you may have in traveling.”
Making connections can be difficult for some, but travel provides common ground and the realization that you’re not alone.
5. Physical Activity
It’s pretty difficult to avoid physical exertion when you travel, so even if you hate working out, you’ll get some valuable exercise. With obesity and stationary living being common, forcing yourself into physical activity is vital for preventing issues like heart disease and reducing your risk of obesity.
According to research, only about 20 percent of people meet the CDC’s recommendation for working out—150 minutes every week of moderate exercise. Women are even less likely to exercise regularly than men, and if you’re over the age of 24, your chances of exercising regularly drop even more.
Finding a way to exercise that’s fun and engaging is one of the best ways to create a habit and get your blood pumping.
6. Lose Weight
Weight loss is a clear benefit of increased physical activity when you travel. If you go somewhere often, even if it’s just to explore a neighboring town, you’ll shed a few pounds for your efforts.
What’s more, travel acts as an incentive to boost your weight loss efforts. Nothing motivates you to hit the gym and put away the Oreos like an impending trip to Hawaii.
The health benefits of travel are just one of the many reasons you should enjoy it to the fullest. Book your next vacation so you have something to look forward to, and the mental and physical health benefits will follow.