Many times in this old life, LOTS of things that we love are bad for us (or so we’re told). But guess what! Here’s something that we love to do, and it happens to be GOOD for us, too! What is it? Travel! Studies show that taking a vacation produces fulfillment, fulfillment makes us happy, and being happy makes us healthier.
Why is travel good for you?
1. Going on vacation can keep you from having a heart attack!
The U.S. Travel Association says that women who go on vacation only every six years are more likely to have a heart attack than women who vacation at least twice a year. In addition, men who did not take a yearly vacation have a 32% higher risk of heart attack. The advantages of taking a vacation are seen very quickly. After being on vacation for only 24 hours, there are significant drops in stress levels.
2. Taking regular vacations can keep you healthier.
We all know that stress can wreak havoc on the immune system, making it easy to contract many different types of illnesses. Colds, flu, headaches and stomach issues are many times related to stress. Some experts believe that stress may even contribute to many types of cancer.
3. If living a longer, healthier life doesn’t do it for you, how about this:
Studies show that people who take a yearly vacation are more productive in the work place. Vacations help us to“recharge our batteries.” Our brains work better and we even sleep better during a vacation and for a period of time after we get back home.
4. Have a new outlook on things.
Putting distance between ourselves and our everyday problems gives a new perspective on personal issues and enables us to open our minds to new solutions. “Getting away” from our routine stresses and obligations can make us feel renewed.
5. Exercise! Travel usually increases physical activity.
When we are on vacation we tend to move around more. There is walking, sometimes hiking and climbing. Anytime we can get moving more, we benefit! More physical activity could ultimately prevent a number of illnesses or diseases.
6. Hello, sunshine!
Being out in the sunshine is good for you because it supplies our bodies with vitamin D. (Sunscreen is an absolute necessity). It is important to find the safe balance between over-indulging in sun exposure and getting enough exposure to increase your vitamin D levels. Not having enough vitamin D is linked to the development of diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, stroke, depression, and some types of cancer.
7. Doing things just for “you” helps to restore feelings of contentment, calmness and a sense of well-being.
When you are traveling, this is “you time.” Getting from point A to point B is probably one of the few times that you can do absolutely nothing and not feel guilty about it. There is not a thing that you need to be doing except sitting back in your seat, relax, and enjoy it! It is difficult to take care of everybody else when you are not taking care of yourself, so really, YOUR going on vacation could be looked at as something you do FOR your whole family (wink, wink)!
8. Traveling teaches you how to relax and “go with the flow.”
One thing that most of us probably need to improve upon is our patience. Many times in our travels we find ourselves waiting for something. Or someone. At some point we have to realize that this is something that something that can only be dealt with by acceptance. What we cannot change, we must learn to accept. Eventually these times of waiting may become something that we actually enjoy as we sit back and absorb all that is going on around us.
9. We are able to experience new things.
New places, different food, being exposed to unique lifestyles all broaden our horizons. Seeing how other people live is good for us. We can see what the possibilities are for change in our own lives, or the polar opposite: it makes us appreciate what we have at home!
10. Studies have shown that just looking forward to a trip can make you feel better.
Thinking about your plans and imagining what your trip will be like can take your mind off of the pressures of day-to-day life. The excitement and anticipation that you feel while planning an upcoming trip seem to carry over into other areas of your life, giving you a good feeling about your life in general.
So what are you waiting for? Get out those suitcases and start packing! Your life depends on it!
Another post about traveling and staying healthy:
The Secret to Staying Healthy When Traveling