22 Feb Vacations are Healthy. It’s Science.
Vacations are Healthy. It’s Science.
Travel is something everyone loves. Exploring new destinations provides experiences, adventures, and memories that not only last a lifetime, but also allow for renewed perspective on life. It’s fun, and (not surprisingly) provides health benefits, too! “Studies show travel leads to a greater learning capacity, increased feeling of happiness and satisfaction, better family relationships, and even decreased risk of heart disease.”
Effects of Travel on Our Mind
Whether you’re stressed, overwhelmed, over-worked or just ready for a change, escaping the confines of our day-to-day routine is needed once in awhile. A trip away from the norm could be just what we need to have dedicated time to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect with what’s truly important in life. The ability to get away and come back refreshed not only helps us deal with stress as it comes up again in the future, but it has been shown to lower levels of stress hormones, overall. The resulting “traveler’s high” is said to benefit the workplace, too; employees that travel have lower rates of absenteeism, higher productivity levels, and generally report feeling less “burnt out”.
Traveling is an experience for the senses. Our world and consciousness is expanded as we learn about new cultures through the sights, sounds, smells and tastes foreign destinations have to offer. A natural curiosity is tapped into as we allow our minds to explore. Approaching new and different encounters as an opportunity to grow and learn decreases stress, increases awareness, and expands our capacities for understanding. “Travel by definition is dropping your brain into a place that’s novel and complex,” states Paul Nussbaum, a clinical neuropsychologist and adjunct professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. “You’re stunned a little bit, and your brain reacts by being engaged, and you begin to process on a deep level. Some stress, some anxiety is good because it positions the brains to be more attentive and more engaged,” he said.
Effects of Travel on Our Hearts
Some people choose to travel with friends and/or family, while others choose to travel solo. Either way, people are brought together by sharing experiences during their travels. Not only are memories created, but logistics (ex. Navigating planes, trains, taxis, hotels, food, sleep, etc) of travel can truly test the strength of a interpersonal bond. Surprisingly, the stress that sometimes comes with travel, when balanced with the time away from both work and our typical routines, can help combat our normal negative stressors in the long term. In fact, more than 75 percent of adults attribute a strengthening of relationships to travel.
Just as our figurative “heart” benefits, so does our literal heart. Studies have shown there may be a correlation between traveling while on vacation and decreased risk of heart disease, as well. A nine-year study of 12,000 men found that those who took at least one vacation per year were 30% less likely to die from heart disease and less likely to have a heart attack compared to individuals that didn’t take a vacation.
A happier and healthier mind and body while exploring new places at the same time? Yes, please! With all the health benefits of travel, what are you waiting for? You should probably plan your next trip today!
-Health & Wellness Coach