6 Ways Science Says Vacation and Traveling Are Good for Your Health
6 minute read
Traveling is good for your health. It’s true, scientific studies have proven that getting out of your comfort zone and visiting new and exotic locations boosts your health in a variety of different ways.
Is a little bit of wanderlust tickling your imagination? Do you find yourself daydreaming about tropical destinations or foreign wonders? If so, then this might be all the reason you need to pack your bags, buy a ticket, and begin traveling.
Before you head out that door, ready to tackle the world, read the following so you know all the benefits you’ll receive from your next vacation.
1. Stress Levels Drop
Not only does the constant stress of your daily life take a toll on you emotionally and physically, the whole routine of it can be hard to handle too. This is one of the reasons that traveling can be great for your psychological well-being as it takes you out of your stressful routine and immerses you in new experiences.
A paper published in Research Gate looks at how travel experiences can relieve work-related stress and boost life satisfaction. Beyond that, there are many studies that show how taking vacations can actually improve your work productivity.
So not only do you benefit mentally and physically from the reduction of stress during a vacation, you come back better able to perform than before.
2. Stronger Immune System
When you travel to a different environment, you’re exposing your body to new germs, dirt, and some minor illnesses. Typically, your body is strong enough to fight off these new little invaders and, in the process, it becomes even stronger.
The hygiene hypothesis is gaining a lot of steam and it seems with reason. A recent study has found that mice without bacteria who live in a germ-free state have more respiratory and digestive inflammation than those mice who are exposed to microbes.
3. Boost Brain Health
By traveling you expand your mind. Meeting new people, seeing different architecture and art, trying new foods—these are all big steps toward making you more culturally aware and introducing you to a global ideology.
International experiences can also open the mind to new ways of thinking, which in turn, boosts creativity levels. That’s right, travel can make you more creative.
Creativity is related to neuroplasticity and how your brain is wired to work. When you are in a new environment and you see new stimuli around you, your brain creates new pathways. In the future, your thought process now has different ways of getting around.
4. Healthier Heart
If you are concerned about heart health then, in addition to eating right and exercising, vacationing should be one of your priorities. A study from the University of New York at Oswego found that vacationing yearly reduced the overall risk of death by 20% and the risk of death from heart disease by 30%.
If you’re female, then the Framingham Heart Study performed by the Centers for Disease Control is one you should pay attention to. Following up on the participants after 20 years had lapsed, they discovered that women who took vacations no more than once every six years were nearly eight times more likely to have a heart attack than women who took at least two vacations a year.
5. Stay Fit With Travel
While travel includes a lot of sitting and eating, it also includes lots of walking and some adventures too. It also appears to be tied with a better physique. A study by the University of Pittsburgh found that women who travel and spent time doing other pleasurable activities have a lower waist circumference.
Whether it’s the travel that keeps them fit or their overall approach to experiences, more studies are needed to confirm this, but it’s a great motivator.
6. Live Longer
A 40-year study conducted by the University of Helsinki looked at intensive lifestyles that included shorter vacations. The men in the study who had the more stressful lifestyles did not fare as well as the men who were in the group with longer vacations, in fact they died sooner.
| Related: 9 Ways to Manage Stress and Its Lifelong Benefits |
The men who were in the group that took longer vacations also suffered less stress and stress-induced illnesses.
The Bottom Line
If you’re considering taking a vacation but on the fence about it, consider this your prescription to take a holiday. It’s true that traveling can boost your health—physically, emotionally, and mentally.
The health benefits above do not work exclusively from each other and having less stress in your life can easily make you happier, improve your sex life, improve your heart health, extend your lifespan and more. Future studies on the cumulative effects of a vacation may prove that there are exponential benefits that we don’t yet understand.
In the meantime, don’t worry about any scientific studies, get out and travel and enjoy the world around you. You’ll reap the rewards without even trying.