Throughout history, travel has always been an integral part of all civilizations. Ancient travellers, the great explorers of the 15th century and today's tourists are not so different from each other; they all had or have had this desire to discover the world! If travel has nourished Man's dreams since the beginning of his existence, it is not without reason, they bring many advantages and benefits.
This is confirmed by a very serious study, Global Comimission on Aging, in collaboration with the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. In particular, they found that frequent vacations reduce the likelihood of heart disease and depressive disorders, as well as helping to maintain good mental health in general. On the other hand, not taking an annual vacation would increase male mortality by 20% and increase the chance of dying from a heart attack by 30%. The study also shows that women who take a vacation once every six years are at a much higher risk of suffering from cardiac arrest than those who take a vacation twice a year.
The benefits of travel include both physical and mental activity, as well as being a way to get away from the stress of daily work and allow the body to rest. Moreover, it would seem that the benefits of travel are felt almost immediately: after only a day or two, 89% of the respondents in the study saw their stress level drop considerably.
I. The direct benefits of travel on your health
1. Travel increases physical and cardiovascular health
Travelling is about promoting physical activity in general. Whether it's running to make sure you don't miss the plane, rushing down the streets of a capital city or climbing the highest peaks, travelling is good for your body but above all for your thrill! All this physical activity lowers blood pressure and therefore the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Also, we rarely feel as good as when the sun's rays activate vitamin D and promote the secretion of serotonin, also known as the good mood hormone. That's probably why vacations make you happy.
2. Travel strengthens the immune system
During your many trips, you will be led to frequent very varied places... and not always as clean as we would like! A study showed that exposure to germs, dust and microbes from unhealthy environments considerably strengthens our immune defences! Afterwards, you are not advised not to wash for 10 days but being confronted with unhealthy environments strengthens your body. In addition, travelling in different environments helps the body to adapt to different foods and bacteria, but also to different living conditions, making it more resistant and resilient to each trip.
3. Travel relieves stress and stimulates mental health
According to an Expedia 2012 survey, 89% of vacationers found that they could relax and unwind after only a day or two on their trip. By getting out of your daily routines and moving to a new environment, you reset both your mind and body, which significantly relieves you of stress.
In addition, recreational activities, such as travel, can reduce levels of depression and improve psychological functioning, according to a 2009 University of Kansas study. You can feel a renewed sense of happiness even when you plan a trip (up to eight weeks before leaving for your destination). Having something to look forward to, even if it is a two-day trip, can be rewarding. Holidaymakers are also likely to experience less stress and are more satisfied with their mood and overall outlook after returning from a trip than non-travellers. According to another study by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people who often travel abroad tend to be more open but also more emotionally stable.
4. Travelling keeps your mind sharp
Travelling not only has a beneficial impact on the body, but it is also exceptionally beneficial for the brain and mind. Indeed, being constantly confronted with new environments, new situations and new interactions, your brain develops a certain capacity for adaptation but also for resilience. In particular, it has been shown that travel, through this cognitive stimulation, slows down the onset of neurodegenerative diseases and improves concentration.
5. Travelling enhances creativity
Why do so many artists travel? Have you ever asked yourself this question? Because travel is an unprecedented source of inspiration and motivation. More pragmatically, how does this make sense? In fact, the neural pathways of the brain are influenced by environment and experience (brain adaptability is also called neuroplasticity), which leads researchers to believe that travel can trigger synapses in the brain and stimulate creativity. As a result, the more you travel, the more your brain will work and become an idea well!
A study published in 2012 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found a strong link between creativity and travellers' immersion in cultures different from their own. According to the study, the more you are able to engage and adapt to new cultures, the more creative and professionally successful you will be. In order to improve creativity, the author emphasizes the importance of immersing oneself in new cultures, rather than simply changing one's physical location. This study was endorsed by a second study, published in the Academy of Management Journal and conducted by Galinsky. She was interested in the artistic directors of major fashion and production companies as they travelled internationally. Those who lived and worked in different countries performed much better than those who worked in only one country.
6. Travelling improves sleep rhythms
In your daily life, you may be confronted with famous insomnia so dreaded by the majority of us. Poor sleep can be due to harmful lifestyle habits but can also be the result of high stress. As we have seen, travel reduces stress, so it helps you fall asleep. In general, it is recommended to sleep about 7 to 8 hours per night (for an adult). However, this is easier to do on a trip than in the middle of a workweek, when you are swamped with appointments and powerpoints to finish! Travelling, therefore, makes it possible to recall oneself biologically and to start a new period of work that is both serene and rested!
7. Travelling allows you to discover places with therapeutic properties
The world is rich in diversity and there are places on Earth known for their therapeutic properties. Whether in the natural jacuzzis of Iceland, the helmets of Turkey or the thermal springs of the Alps, many places promote well-being and can treat various pathologies. For example, immersing yourself in hot thermal water baths brings benefits to your skin but also to your body by reducing stress and pain.
Some places also have more esoteric properties where the Earth's energy converges to heal and raise spirits. We often talk about these places, the most famous being the site of Stonehenge, the pyramids of Egypt or between Sedona in the United States.
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II. The indirect benefits of travel on your health
1. Travelling is about discovering yourself
When you travel for several months, you gradually learn to discover yourself from a different angle. In our daily lives, we are often bogged down in a routine and we always have the same kind of reactions to the events around us. On the other hand, by travelling, we leave our routine patterns and comfort zone in order to face new situations. These, although often stressful at first, confront us with ourselves, our limits and our fears, allowing us to surpass ourselves and discover aspects of ourselves that were previously unknown. A study has shown that there is a real connection between travel and cultural adaptation and personal development.
In addition, the social aspects of travel can reinforce your sense of identity. Research has shown that when you step outside your social comfort zone and immerse yourself in cultures different from your own, you strengthen your personal identity, including your values and beliefs, and increase your confidence. Indeed, according to Mary Helen Immordino-Yang who teaches psychology at the University of California “our ability to differentiate our own beliefs and values … is tied up in the richness of the cultural experiences that we have had.”
2. Travelling is about learning to do without the superfluous
When you travel a lot (on a regular basis), you quickly realize that managing your budget is essential! As a result, we quickly come to retain only what is essential by cutting unnecessary expenses. As a result, we quickly come to stop small snacks between meals (and I know how much it can be missing...), useless little accessories or gadgets (in the end it's an advantage, the bag becomes lighter) and other impulsive expenses. In the end, we save a lot of money by depriving ourselves of things that, after a few months, will not even be missed anymore! In a way, this makes it possible to question the way of life and consumption in which we have always lived, and to put things in order of importance. You'd be surprised to see how much we really need can only be summed up in a handful of objects.
3. Travelling is living strong experiences that boost self-confidence
Travelling is about confronting the most total stranger. This makes it possible to strengthen the mind and to set oneself challenges and objectives that are ever more insane and ambitious! Personally, I have always been afraid of the void (even on a wooden platform with two people on the ground... no judgment). Who would have thought that I would love bungee jumping or paragliding today? I don't think I would play these sports if I had stayed home all this time. Travelling is experiencing life but also your body. This teaches us that there is no fear (beware I am not talking about phobia ect) that we cannot overcome. In the end, we gain a lot of self-confidence and the whole world becomes within our reach!
4. Travelling means opening up to the world and others
When you travel alone or in small groups to foreign countries, you have met a whole lot of people you would never have met in other situations. These people often come from totally different cultures and therefore have a lot to offer! You will learn to see things differently, you will taste dishes and flavours that were previously unknown. Confronting people from different backgrounds is extremely enriching and also allows you to develop your critical thinking skills in order to see things from a different perspective. In this regard, many psychologists have pointed out that people often have epiphanies when they travel, because they are able to see their problems from a more detached point of view. Indeed, looking at how others live, almost like looking at the world through someone else's eyes, can also broaden your vision. Looking at how other cultures live can force you to question your own assumptions and free your mind to experience other ways of being.
There is a quote from Mark Twain who says, "In 20 years, you will be more disappointed by the things you have not done than by the things you have actually done". St Augustine explained that "the world is a book and that those who do not travel only read the first page". So I don't know if you're big readers, but it's never too late to start.
In addition, you will see that the more you travel, the more you will enjoy your home! "The magic of home is that it feels good to leave it, and it feels even better to come back". You will not really understand the meaning of Wendy Wunder's words when you return home. On the one hand, nothing seems to have changed: the same environment, the same people, the same problems. And yet you are no longer the same - you are a new you, full of ideas and new impressions!