Travel, doctor’s orders

Travel, doctor’s orders

Travel is one health regimen you seriously wouldn’t need to make excuses for, am I right? It’s also the one pleasure you don’t have to consume in moderation. The benefits are both mental and physical, so go ahead and take your dose as often as you’d like.

U.S. Travel Association’s campaign, Travel Effect

The December 2013 report, “Destination Healthy Aging: The Physical, Cognitive and Social Benefits of Travel” sheds light on the health benefits of travel.

One study determined that women who vacationed less had a significantly higher risk of developing a heart attack or coronary death while men who didn’t take an annual vacation had a 20 percent higher risk of death and 30 percent higher risk of death from heart disease.

The study also found that after being on vacation for only one day, 89 percent of people were able to relax and leave behind the stress of work (this has long-term effects!).

Travel also promotes brain health, according to Dr. Paul Nussbaum, because it presents the brain with new, challenging experiences. Travel, especially in mature adults, stimulates social participation, positively impacting mental health.

Staying physically active reduces the rate of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, cancers, and cognitive functions while other activities such as games, reading, and sightseeing reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 47 percent.

An October 2013 study conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) and Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) finds that overall in the U.S., travellers are happier than non-travellers. Obvious? But what’s telling is that the biggest regret of retirees (who had regrets at all) was not saving enough for travel. Moral of the story? Save now!

The survey also found that travel strongly benefits mood and outlook (86%), stress levels (78%), physical well-being (77%), friendships (75%), mental stimulation (75%), and health (70%). It also impacts what Americans say is the basis of their long-term wellness, such as making time to do things they love (95%), spending time with friends and family (94%) and staying active both mentally and physically.

Interestingly, 66 percent of travellers say physical activity is important when they’re on a leisure trip and 63 percent of travellers report that they walk more.

The survey culminated in finding that Americans who take at least one trip per year are more satisfied physically, emotionally, and financially, experiencing greater satisfaction in overall mood and physical well-being. You don’t have to tell me twice.

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