There are lots of different reasons why people choose to travel. They may do so for their work, to meet new people and experience new cultures, to escape the stresses of everyday life, or simply to inject some fun into their life. What many people don’t realise, however, is that people who make travelling a regular part of their life can actually improve their health. Whether you’re about to embark on a year-long trip around the world or you prefer to take shorter holidays throughout the year, there is plenty of research which shows a clear connection between travel and our physical and mental wellbeing and travelling.
- You can build a stronger immune system
When we travel to new places and meet new people, we can strengthen our immune systems. Exposing our bodies to unfamiliar environments causes our bodies to adapt and produce antibodies to protect us from new and potentially harmful bacteria or pathogens, which makes us stronger in the long term. Of course, we should always try to maintain hygiene when travelling as too much bacteria can cause illness, which is not ideal when trying to enjoy a holiday.
- You can visit healing sites and warmer climates
There are many destinations around the world that have been reported to have healing properties that draw in millions of travellers every year. For example, natural hot springs in Costa Rica or Iceland are bubbling with minerals, which can relieve tension, pain, and stress and promote circulation and healthy skin. There are also places which many believe are charged with natural energy from the earth, which can refresh and heal people such as the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge in the UK. In addition, relaxing and luxurious holidays bathed in sunshine can bring many health benefits, which is why so many head for sunshine when it’s time to recharge their batteries, such as villa holidays in Spain.
- Travel can reduce stress
It’s probably not a shocking statement to you, but holidays help to reduce our stress levels and improve our overall mood. This is not just because we are physically removing ourselves from work and any home stresses. A study that measured anxiety and energy levels in travellers before a holiday and then 3 days after they returned home found them to be better rested, less depressed and less stressed. The positive effects also continued for weeks after the travellers had come home.
- You can keep your brain active
When we travel, we are facing new challenges, new languages, new people, new cultures and continually adjusting to new environments. This not only increases our knowledge and cultural awareness making us more rounded human beings but also increases our cognitive abilities. Studies have found links between increased creativity, self-awareness and emotional stability in people who travel regularly than those who do not.
- Travel can lower the risk of heart disease
By taking a break from the stresses and responsibilities of home, we can lower our risk of heart disease and heart attack. This has been evidenced by several scientific studies such as one by the State University of New York, which found middle-aged men who were at high risk for heart disease who took annual vacations had a reduced risk of mortality not only from heart disease but many other natural causes.
- You are often more active when travelling
When we travel, we are far more likely to be physically active when exploring new places, especially when we do so on foot. We tend to try new activities and sports, walk through cities for hours, swim in the sea or the pool or hike to the top of hills and mountains to get the best view we can. Even if your holiday involves spending a lot of time on the beach, you will be using new muscles to walk on the sand.