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Travel Can Make You Healthier And Smarter According To Studies

April 16, 2016

In today’s fast-paced and on-the-go world, it is really hard for people to take breaks. And, we don’t mean a quick 10-minute break to get a soda or a cup of joe. We’re talking about a good and relaxing break from your endless parade of everyday pressures, office responsibilities and daily chores. Yes folks, I’m talking about travel, vacation, and a respite to a breezy tropical paradise or a classic road trip through the heartland of America.

A recent study called Project: Time Off has revealed that more and more people in America are passing up on their vacation days, choosing to work ceaselessly to prove loyalty to the company as well as meet tight deadlines. The study shows that a shocking 42 % of Americans didn’t take a single vacation day in 2014. And though your boss probably appreciates your dedication to your work, your soul, body and mind are waiting anxiously for a much-needed layoff.

The best way to give your soul, body and mind a break that you desperately need is to travel and go on a vacation. Travel, as recent studies have confirmed, not only gives people a breather from work, but it also boosts their overall well-being, state of mind and health.  What’s more, travel can positively enhance your ability to think creatively and be innovative.

 

Travel enhances creativity

Creativity, for most people, comes through exciting and new experiences. But, when the most stimulating thing about your day is the gossip at your office’s water cooler or the commute to work, you are practically limiting the ability of your mind to be inspired and expand.

Adam Galinsky, a renowned professional and authors, believes that “foreign experiences can increase cognitive depth and flexibility. Likewise, he thinks that these experiences can enhance one’s ability to create deep connections between different forms. In other words, new smells, sights and sounds can all spark the brain’s creativity synapses.

But, how can you fire up the synapses of your brain? By traveling, of course!

As a matter of fact, a lot of creative people, like Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway, used their voyages and international travel experiences to sculpt their masterpieces. The novels of Hemingway were inspired heavily by the time he spent in Spain and France, and Twain’s sailing journey through the Mediterranean is well documented in Innocents Abroad, his travelogue.  Indeed, their exposure to different and new cultures gave them the inspiration to write some of their finest works.

Going on a vacation in a foreign city like Rome, or even in a different state, will literally open your mind. You are going to make a bunch of new friends, visit noteworthy landmarks, try exotic dishes, or even trek through steep mountains. Trust me, immersing yourself into a foreign environment for a few days will definitely take your creative thinking skill to a whole new level.

 

Travel will keep you physically healthy and fit

Going on a vacation can, in many ways, make you more active. After all, you are out hiking trails, exploring landmarks and strolling through flea markets. Furthermore, you are enjoying stunning views as well as breathing in fresh air. And even if you are just sitting on a tourist bus for a couple of mornings, you’re still more active than watching television at home to getting stuck at an office cubicle. 

 

Travel improves brain power

Everyone knows that travel is good for the mind and soul, but did you know that it can also improve brain power? The US Travel Association, the Transamerica Center for Retirement, and the Global Commission on Aging conducted a poll, and discovered that travel helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, especially for retirees.

The study also suggested that people who often travel are more satisfied with their life’s outlook than those who don’t.

 

It’s good for the heart

Travel not only enriches the power of our brain, but it strengthens the health of your heart as well. The Framingham Heart Study has discovered that people who don’t take vacation days for years are more likely to suffer from heart diseases than those who traveled frequently.  Also, according to the findings of the poll conducted by US Travel Association, females who vacationed every six years (or less) have a significantly higher risk of a coronary death or developing a heart attack, compared to females who take a vacation at least twice a year.

So, why is travel good for the heart? People who get away from their daily grind are usually less anxious and less stressed, which in turn will decrease the strain on their heart. Also, travel can give you light-hearted and stress-free feelings that can last for a number of weeks, helping reduce tension as well as your heart’s strain.

 

Travel makes you happy

It’s not just the actual vacation or trip that will make you happy. As recent studies have implied, planning a trip itself will increase your sense of happiness.  A study in 2002 conducted by the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom suggests that people feel extreme happiness when they know they have an upcoming trip.

And it’s true! We do experience a greater sense of joy as well as feel great about our life, when we have a trip on the horizon.

Also, a more recent study conducted by Cornell University in 2014 found out that people experience more bliss just knowing they are going on a trip, versus knowing that they are going to buy something.

Whether you are checking flights to Hawaii or browsing treks on Trekeffect, planning your trip can be the best thing you can do for your well-being.

 

Travel helps prevent depression

Our modern-day lifestyles, characterized by never-ending busyness, will lead to the irritability, stress and the negative effects of our well-being, efficiency and productivity that most of us lament. This situation is so bad that females who travel less than once every couple of years are more likely to suffer from stress and depression than women who take a vacation at least two times a year, according to the 2005 study conducted by Wisconsin’s Marshfield Clinic.

Thankfully, though, stress relief is on top of the list, when it comes to the perks of travel.

Dr. Margaret K. King – the director of the Center for Cultural Studies and Analysis – explains how travel can improve our overall health and relieve stress.  She believes that people thrive on novelty, and thinks traveling offers the whole package with new sights, sounds and faces. We feel more energized, well-rested and happier, every time we get back from a trip or a vacation, she says.

 

Travel lets you understand the true essence of life

Some folks think that the more fancy possessions they have, the happier their life will be. But the truth is, materials things like jewelry, mansions and cars will depreciate with age, and their satisfaction with these goods will decrease over time too.  On the other hand, rewarding experiences like travel or a vacation in Italy will grow richer in time, as they become embellished in your memory.

Even short getaways can be rather enriching since you are exposing yourself to diverse perspectives, passions, traditions and cultures, as you travel. Ultimately, you’ll become a more engaged and enlightened citizen, as you travel more often.

And, I’m not saying this for the sake of getting some likes and attention on social media. A Cornell study conducted in 2010 found this theory to be true. Check it out if you don’t believe me.

 

So, let the travel planning begin. Book your flights to the next place on your bucket list, pack your passport and bags, and let your mind absorb the stress-free aura and creativity from your travel. But, don’t forget to plan your trip with Trekeffect!

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Aldrich Infantado
Aldrich Infantado is a travel junkie and a writing aficionado who loves to share amazing travel tips to his fellow travelers.