We all love a good vacation, don’t we? Traveling to new places, taking a break from your hectic work schedule, chilling out and exploring the world. And it’s no secret we come back to reality wanting more. But is there more to it? Well, for those people who have the incredible common I-want-a-vacation syndrome – science is actually on your side. Here are 5 scientifically-proven health benefits of traveling abroad.
Traveling boosts your immune system
If you’re traveling somewhere exotic, you might find that you develop a slight cough or cold – but this isn’t a bad thing. Traveling to new places actually exposes you to different environments and pathogens, which in turn, creates stronger antibodies in your immune system. This then boosts your overall immune system as your body adapts to new bacteria. No, this doesn’t mean you can roll around in the dirt for your ‘health, ’ but it does mean you don’t have to have a shower every time you touch a rock.
Traveling reduces your stress levels
Let’s be honest; our daily lives can be pretty stressful. Or, for some, incredibly stressful. And when you’re lounging on a beach in the Bahamas, or trekking through rainforests in Peru, you forget about your daily stressors. It’s been scientifically proven that traveling increases your happiness, decreases depression, and any chance of depression, and that this happiness can last for weeks after you return home. (This means you can go on holiday every few months. Because of Science. Bonus).
Traveling decreases the risk of heart disease
Unless you sleep, eat and do everything from the comfort of your sun lounger in Miami (which, to be honest, sounds pretty amazing), you probably move about more on vacation than you do during your 9-5 desk job. Whether it’s running through the airport to catch your flight, walking the cobbled streets of Italy or climbing to the peaks of Mount Everest, you’re moving about and getting your blood pumping. And it’s pretty well known that physical movement reduces the risk of heart disease. So go climb that mountain!
Traveling broadens your horizons and improves your brain health
When you’re traveling, you meet new people, new places, new cultures, new countries, undertake new experiences and broaden your horizons. Research suggests that new experiences increase your cognitive ability and forces it to become more flexible. This keeps our minds sharp, healthy and creative. Supposedly, it also makes us more emotionally stable; which is something many of us could do with.
Traveling shifts your perspective
When you begin your travels, you are taken completely out of your comfort zone – and you’ll probably find yourself in a situation you’re not used to on a daily basis. But no matter how uncomfortable we feel during these situations, it gives us the opportunity to see things from a different point of view, and a different perspective. Which is why so many people talk of their ‘epiphanies’ or ‘finding themselves’ while traveling.