More and more, we Americans are foregoing our vacation days from work to put in extra time at the office. While our employers may appreciate that we are skipping vacations in favor of increased productivity, new science shows that our bodies don’t.
Shying away from vacation time takes a toll on our mind, body and spirit. Just by traveling and taking some me-time, you can boost your brain health, heart health and physical health, soothe your mood, fire up your creativity, and improve your ability to be innovative.
Take a look at the list of positive attributes that day-trippers and jet setters alike enjoy. You may find yourself planning your next getaway.
1. Traveling Improves Brain Power – A recent study on the effects of travel on our brains linked regular travel to a reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia for retirees. Another study found that 86% of those who travel have a high outlook on life, compared to the 75% of those who do not travel. The takeaway? Regular trips engage your mind and keep it active, while also helping to increase your overall life satisfaction.
2. Traveling Strengthens Your Heart – You may know the feeling. Once you return home from vacation you feel stress-free and light-hearted. This feeling doesn’t just exist in your head; it helps your heart. Studies have indicated that while we are away on trips, we are typically less stressed and less anxious, meaning a decrease on the strain on our hearts. Those who don’t travel are at an increased risk for heart problems compared to people who travel annually.
3. Traveling Keeps You Physically Fit – No matter the nature of your travels, it’s pretty likely that you’ll be more active while away than you are at home. Whether you’re out hiking trails, exploring new cities, or even soaking in some beach time, you’re doing more than if you were stuck at the office or vegging out at home.
4. Traveling Boosts Creativity – Ernest Hemingway was clued into this piece of wisdom. The literary great did a multitude of writings based on his time in France and Spain. This is because creativity comes through new and exciting experiences. What better way to tap into a new experience than to travel? Researchers agree. Traveling abroad has been linked to sparking the creativity synapses in our brains.
5. Traveling Promotes Happiness – Not only is the actual trip good for promoting your happiness, but the planning piece itself can be as much of a mood booster. A recent study found that folks are happier just knowing that they are going on a vacation. Another research study showed that we are happiest when we know we have a trip coming up. So the activity of planning a trip – charting the itinerary, planning what to pack, sharing the news with family and friends – is enough to get our happiness flowing.