Travel and health

Travel and health

You’ve probably heard that travelling is ‘good for your soul’, but is it actually good for your health?

Escaping a stressful work environment

A lot of people experience a stressful work environment, be that a labour intensive job, having to meet deadlines, sleep pattern disruption from shift work or even just being stuck in traffic every day. Travelling gets us away from these stresses and helps us to relax while we take things easy for a little while.

Studies show that workers who do not take holidays at least once a year are at greater risk of heart disease. We also experience different weather conditions due to the countries we visit and do activities suited to the conditions.

So we can see that our mental and physical health will benefit from travel, but it is good to know the specifics of why.

Reasons our health improves include:

  • Getting the chance to meet new people and experience different cultures improves our cultural awareness and aids in our personal growth.
  • Being in different environments – be that somewhere hot in the north of Australia or the cold of a European winter – lets us adapt to new situations, e.g. temperature extremes.
  • Coming into contact with new bacteria helps to create antibodies to boost our immune systems.
  • We experience less stress while away from home and this reduces our risk of heart attack.
  • Reduced stress is also responsible for decreasing the likelihood of depression.
  • Those who do not exercise regularly increase their activity levels – people walk around foreign cities, try new sports such as skiing and hiking, or if on the coast, swim at the beach.

The aim of most holidays is to relax.

This, to me, is the biggest reason we need to go on holidays – because we don’t often get that chance for relaxation at home.

Speaking from personal experience, the social aspect of travel is what I find most interesting. That is, meeting new people and keeping in touch with them to see what they are doing with their lives. I am still in contact with people I’ve met in other countries years ago and it gives me ideas of where the best places to visit are if people I know have been there.

This holiday season, many people will get the opportunity to leave the city and suburbs for some much needed relaxation and will experience the above benefits. Hopefully you are among them.

Matt



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