Travel is something that entices many of us. Breaking away from routine, chilling out on a faraway beach and meeting happy people from all walks of life. There is something liberating about visiting a new country. We can wake up when we want, do what we want and have little responsibilities to stress over.
But is it possible that 'getting away' can actually improve our health? We took to science to for the answer...
1. Breaking free from the stresses of everyday life allows our mind and body to reset
It's a common fact that stress effects the mind and body in a number of detrimental ways. With everyday life comes deadlines, homework, social events and bills. Getting 'away from it all' gives your body and mind a time to slow down, reset and see things through a fresh, new perspective. You have time to reflect, analyse and see things more clearly. Scientists have gone as far to say that by not taking at least one week of vacation each year can increase your risk of heart disease by 30 percent.
2. Trying new things leads to a healthy brain
Whilst travelling abroad your brain is kept active with new sights, smells, tastes, languages and cultures. It has been scientifically proven that when a brain is stimulated with new information and learnings - the risk of Alzheimers can be reduced as much as 47 percent.
3. Happiness is contagious
For years scientists have studied the relationship between Happiness and Health. Studies have proven that individuals displaying higher levels of stress, have lower levels of serotonin - the chemical that moderates our moods. So this one is simple - travel surrounds us with happy people, this makes you happy and viola - your serotonin levels are at an all time high!
4. Getting dirty can actually improve the immune system
Recent studies have reported that our modern obsession with cleanliness may actually be the reason for an increase in allergies, asthma and bowel disease. It has been suggested that 'getting dirty' - such as whilst on a hike - can actually improve your immune system.
5. Adventure improves your ability to deal with uncertainties
With travel comes obstacles - there's no surprise there! Without our family and today's modern technologies readily available, we are sometimes forced to deal with certain struggles when abroad, such as being ripped off, missing a flight and finding ourselves in a new city with no available accommodation. And this brings us back to the effects that stress have on our health - we have an increased tolerance to uncertainties and tricky situations.
6. Exploring new terrain can improve physical fitness
Ok - depending on what kind of traveller you are (we've been known to pack on the pounds after 3 months of partying from city to city) - a journey abroad can encourage you to get out and experience the world's natural wonders. At times we may embark on a hike, a swim in the ocean or a walking tour of a new city. This of course - can improve our physical fitness - not to mention a Vitamin D boost!
When confronted with new cultures, our mind is widened to different foods and practices. We may become introduced to Yoga, alternative medicine, the benefits of Sugar cane or the high levels of protein in caterpillars. We are exposed to new ways of cooking and different approaches to dealing with stress and sickness.
Main photo: (this girl has been on holiday for three years) Source: www.vice.com