How Traveling Affects Your Health

Woman carrying luggage at the airport

It’s on many people’s bucket list: to travel the world. And with all you can gain from this rich experience, it’s pretty easy to see why.

People who often travel usually feel that they’re not the same person they used to be after they come back from a trip. And there’s a good basis for this.

Traveling changes you in ways you can never imagine. It allows you to discover new places, meet new faces, and explore different cultures. As a result, you gain a fresh perspective in life.

Traveling, indeed, goes far beyond rest and relaxation. It’s a wonderful learning experience, too. And more than that, it benefits your health as well!

Read on as we discuss how traveling exercises your brain, reduces your stress levels, enhances your social connectivity, improves your sense of self, and more in this article!

Traveling keeps you physically active

From packing your things to going around places and touring cities and hidden gems, traveling allows you to keep on moving.

Traveling also offers lots of opportunities to push yourself to stay active like running on popular local parks and trails or hiking to see the scenic views of a country or a place you’re exploring.

You can even turn your hotel chill time into a fantastic workout by swimming laps in the pool!

Traveling exercises your brain

Traveling also presents itself as a good workout for your brain. When you travel, you get to meet new people coming from different walks of life, learning a thing or two from them.

You also learn about diverse cultures and adapt to new experiences. These things benefit your brain because they enhance your cognitive flexibility and sharpen your mind.

According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people who travel regularly tend to be more open to new experiences.

Traveling boosts your creativity

Researchers believe that traveling can also make you more creative. It’s no wonder why writers travel as much as they can to get inspiration for their next masterpiece.

Creativity has been associated with neuroplasticity or how the brain is influenced by environment and experience.

New experiences and sensations have been found to spark various synapses in the brain that may play a role in revitalizing the mind and boosting creativity.

Traveling makes you feel more satisfied and happy

Two women raising arms holding white flag

Traveling also means fewer worries from work, and who wouldn’t be happy with that? In fact, you may already feel happier from just planning the trip as it gives you something to look forward to!

One research found that experiential purchases or the money spent on experiences such as vacations provide greater happiness than material possession.

This means, if you’re saving for a trip rather than the latest gadget on the market today, you are more likely to feel more satisfied and happier with your decision.

Traveling reduces your risk of depression

Depression is a common, serious medical illness affecting millions of people around the world today. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 300 million people suffering from the illness globally.

Luckily, there are ways to fight the risk of depression, and research shows that traveling may be one of them. One study found that women who take frequent vacations are less likely to feel depressed, tense, and tired.

The personal psychological perks of travel were also found to enhance their quality of life and work performance.

Traveling allows you to gain a new perspective

Woman wearing sunglasses riding tour vehicle

Traveling also widens your horizons as you are exposed to the realities outside your comfort zone. And as uncomfortable as it is, these new and often unexpected experiences, provide opportunities for learning and growth.

According to psychologists, people usually experience epiphanies during their travels. The time they spend away from their comfort zones allow them to view their problems from a different standpoint.

Witnessing how other cultures live and thrive usually feel like seeing the world through someone else’s eyes.

This allows you to assess and challenge your biases, beliefs, and assumptions, and become more open to embracing different ways of living and being.

Traveling boosts heart health

Traveling allows you to move most of the time, from breezing your way through the airport to hiking a mountain of a foreign country, and this could lead to improved heart health.

In fact, a research conducted by the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association provided proof for this.

The study found that women who took vacations every six years or less had a higher risk of heart attack or cardiac death compared with women who traveled at least twice a year.

The research also discovered that men who didn’t take a yearly vacation increased their risk of death from heart disease by 30 percent.

On the other hand, those who travel frequently reap the perks of traveling almost immediately, with 89 percent of respondents reporting a significant decrease in stress levels.

Traveling strengthens your immune system

Traveling is also good for your immune system. When you travel, you are exposed to new environments that may have new bacteria.

A study discovered that exposing yourself to some friendly dirt will help keep your gut and body stronger.

This doesn’t mean that you no longer need to practice proper hygiene, but encountering new bacteria isn’t entirely bad. This is because your body learns to adapt to them, making it much stronger.

Traveling allows you to visit healing sites

Many countries around the world have mineral-rich waters known to relieve pain, boost skin health, and even promote longevity.

Some of the places that are known to have healing waters include Terme di Saturnia in Italy, Kusatsu in Japan, the Dead Sea in Israel, Bath in England, and Bear Lake in Romania.

You can also harness special energy from other healing destinations such as Mount Mitchell in North Carolina, Table Mountain in South Africa, and the Ayers Rock in Australia.

Traveling reduces your stress levels

This may no longer be surprising for you, especially if you travel frequently. Often, people see travel as an escape from all the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Science also provided proof that traveling boosts happiness and trims the risk of depression. Travelers reported feeling well-rested and less anxious even weeks after returning from a vacation.

Traveling improves your sense of self

Traveling not only boosts your connectedness with other people but with yourself as well. Being able to get out of your social comfort zone allows you to learn some valuable things about yourself, too.

It also helps to strengthen your beliefs, values, and personal identity, and boost your self-confidence.

Traveling enhances your social connectedness

Group of people by the beach jumping and raising arms during sunset

One of the greatest perks of traveling is its ability to bring you closer to different people from different races, cultures, and beliefs, expanding your social network.

This provides an opportunity for you to improve your social connectedness as well. You can share your views with them, and learn from their perspectives, too. You can even build lasting relationships with them, too!

Tips for a Healthy Travel

Now that you know what you can reap from exploring the world, it’s time to plan your trip well!

To maximize these benefits and the time that you have away, you need to make sure you’re healthy during your entire vacation, too. Keep these tips in mind for your next travel:

Sleep well

For most people, dozing off at the airport or at the plane doesn’t simply happen. It’s also more likely that you begin exploring a foreign land after dropping your things at the hotel, so make sure you’re properly rested.

Quality sleep also helps you to recover faster from pains and illnesses after you return home from a vacation.

Practice proper hygiene

Wherever in the world you may be, make sure that you are observing proper hygiene. Washing your hands or using a sanitizer frequently helps to minimize your risk of acquiring diseases while traveling.

Make sure that you have sanitizing wipes or other disinfectants handy in your travel bag or pouch always.

Buy bottled water

Many illnesses are caused by contaminated water and food.

To prevent your risk of travel-related diseases like traveler’s diarrhea, avoid drinking tap water or using it to brush your teeth, especially in countries with poor sanitation.

While each of us has different sensitivities to tap water, it’s risky when you are in a foreign country. So, stuck up on bottled water and drinks.

Watch what you eat

Also, be mindful of what you eat. In countries where sanitation is poor, everyone is advised to avoid eating salads, uncooked vegetables and fruits, unpasteurized milk, and street foods.

Drink lots of fluids

Keeping yourself hydrated plays an important role in your overall health and wellness. Drinking lots of fluids, particularly water, is especially crucial if you are suffering from traveler’s diarrhea, vomiting or dehydration.

Takeaway

Now, you’ve got more reasons to plan a trip and hop on that plane! Exploring a foreign destination brings so much to the table.

You’re not only certain to enjoy a well-deserved break but savor some amazing health perks, too! This is the perfect time to say, “Where to next?”


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