Travel and Our Health: The Surprising Connection
Here’s some good news: Despite the events of the last several years, the science remains clear—travel is good for our health.
It’s easy to think that travel is how and where you get sick, but it’s important to look beyond the pandemic and consider the big picture. Travel can benefit our mood, our fitness level, and even our ability to withstand disease. Here’s how.
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For many people, travel is that “exhale” moment that they crave. While the process of getting to a destination can sometimes increase stress levels, once they arrive at their destination and can relax, many people feel their stress melting away. Travel can help prevent burnout, help you sleep better, help you feel more satisfied with important relationships in your life, and improve your perception of your overall quality of life.
The best news is that the stress relief can last. A German study found that the effects of even a short vacation can last for up to 45 days, providing a “halo” effect that might even be able to carry you through to your next vacation.
Research has also found that people who take regular vacations report feeling more creative. Studies provide evidence that people who are exposed to different cultures find that viewing the world through a new lens provides an outside perspective that ultimately boosts their creativity.
No surprise here: Travel makes most people happy. Many people anecdotally equate travel with some of the happiest moments of their lives–whether it’s a honeymoon, a family road trip, or a bucket-list trip–and studies have confirmed that connection. In fact, according to a Cornell University study, the mere act of anticipating travel can increase a person’s happiness.
Increased Disease Resistance
Travelers are healthier than non-travelers. This may seem counterintuitive after the headlines and events of the last couple of years, but reflect on this: Who was the kid in your neighborhood who never got sick? The one who ate the most dirt. Why? Because he was exposed to the most microbes, and developed a strong tolerance.
Research confirms that this applies also to travelers. The people who travel most and are exposed to the greatest variety of microbes tend to develop resistance to more strains, which can actually lessen the impact of a global pandemic.
Improved Physical Fitness
We’re generally more active on vacation than we are at home. Whether you’re skiing, walking beaches, sightseeing, even just taking trips from the hotel to the pool, check your step counter and you’ll see a major difference. If you spend a week in Italy heading up and down Italian hills by foot, that improved physical fitness can make you feel better and become more health-conscious.
Here’s one last positive: Remembering to insure your trip with Travel insurance provides peace of mind, which is a first step toward improved well-being.