It’s been a long time since doctors prescribed a trip to the coast for every ailment, but most modern doctors would agree that traveling really is good for your health. Physically and mentally, travel can renew you, refresh you and improve your overall well-being. If you’re looking for an excuse to take that trip to the Caribbean, I can give a few convincing reasons to go.
You’ll get up and get moving
If you’re sitting at a desk job all day, you know what a relief it is to move around and get blood flowing at the end of the day. When you’re traveling, the walking alone will give your heart a healthy work-out and burn calories. My step-counter tells me that I take about ten times as many steps as normal when I’m on vacation! And that’s not even counting the surfing, hiking, swimming, biking, or whatever else you do on trips. To maximize health benefits to vacation activity, plan your vacation around physical activities. What does that look like for you? Maybe it’s an epic hike up Mount Kilimanjaro, or maybe it’s planning lots of gallery visits to encourage yourself to walk. Whatever it is, be sure to move around and get your heart pumping.
Put aside those reports and deadlines. It’s time for you to leave the laptop at home and get some recharging time. When you travel, you shed the stresses of everyday life and give yourself a much-needed break. Not only will this keep away the ulcers, it’s also mentally healthy. Be sure to get a massage or visit a spa while on vacation if you need some extra “me” time. Remember rule #1 of traveling: if there is any possible way you can, leave all your work at home. You have the other 98% of your life to focus on your job or school.
Get enough sleep
With the possible exception of camping, travel gives you the opportunity to sleep in as long as you want. No alarm clocks, no meetings, no classes. Just you and your pillow. Forever. Or, at least, until you’re ready to move your lazy bones to a beach chair! Just make sure not to stay up too late partying—you don’t want to cancel out the sleep-in time with late nights. To get the best rest possible, ditch jetlag by jumping into your destination time zone schedule as soon as possible, maybe even a few days before you leave.
Bring up your happy levels
Sometimes, all you need for a health boost is to just feel happy. New experiences, fun activities, and no obligations can make you smile more than you have in weeks. Doing activities that release endorphins – like exercising or just plain enjoying yourself – have both psychological and physiological effects. So get out and have a good time, guilt-free!
Good for your brain
Trips are good for your brain, and I’m not just talking about the crossword puzzles you did on the plane ride. Traveling throws you into situations where you have to solve problems, try new things, meet new people, and get out of your comfort zone. All of these things force your brain to work and exercise itself. There’s no better way for you to improve mental health and longevity than to work it out and have fun at the same time. To get the most mental benefits out of your trip, plan activities that take you out of your realm of experience.
Breaks your routine
Although routine is healthy, a break in routine is also good for you. You can remind yourself that there’s a whole big world out there when you change things up with a trip now and then. Spending a week doing something totally different helps you to reset and re-calibrate. Maybe you’ll even decide to try a strong cup of local black chai instead of your usual morning latte! Who knows, anything can happen when you’re exploring the globe.
Believe it or not, homesickness is actually good for you. It doesn’t matter how much you enjoy the Florida coast. Eventually, you’re going to start missing home, and when you do, you’ll remember all the good things about it—starting with sleeping your very own pillow, I’m sure. Thinking about all the things you love about home will remind you that you really do like your day-to-day life. When you go home, you’ll be refreshed, ready, and even eager to get back to normal life.
You have to get that Vitamin D some time, and vacation is an excellent time to do it. Whether you’re skiing Colorado or soaking up the rays in Cancun, the time you spend outdoors will translate to a healthy dose of the Sunshine Vitamin. Just be sure to be cautious and wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn.
There you have it! Vacation is good for you—so take care of yourself and plan a trip. The benefits of travel can improve your mental health, bolster your physical health, and even contribute to a longer, happier life. I’ll take that kind of medicine any day!