Does it feel like you’re constantly putting off vacation? I know the feeling. My “To Do” list is forever growing.
There’s always going to be things to take care of; that’s why it’s critical that at least once a year, we put things on the back burner, even if for just a few days, and take a vacation.
There are medical (and psychological) reasons for this. It is HEALTHY to travel. Here are the top reasons why:
1. Soak up Vitamin D.
Most of us spend majority of our hours inside – working in an office, taking care of bills, cooking dinner for our families and so on.
Outside, we soak up sunshine that is packed with Vitamin D, one of the vitamins our bodies need; Vitamin D helps keep bones strong, increases immunity and raises serotonin levels. Serotonin increase feelings of happiness and positivity, so it’s important for mental health, especially for anyone fighting depression.
When we travel, we finally get to spend far more time outside, hitting the beach, playing in the park, exploring the outdoors and soaking up all that Vitamin D!
2. Learn new things and increase brain health.
As we get older, it’s vital to continue learning. This is not just speculative; science has shown learning keeps our brain sharp and improves our memory.
A neuroscientist at the University of Texas at Dallas, Dr. Denise Park, conducted a study with 200 older adults. The goal? To see how their brains responded to learning new activities. Even when tested a year later, the groups who had to learn tasks had the best memory. The more challenging the task, the better the memory.
On vacation, it’s natural to dive into learning. We’re in a new place exploring museums, learning about that area’s culture and trying out new activities, like surfing, snorkeling or painting class. Without knowing it, we’re sharpening our brains. When we travel, we finally get to spend far more time outside, hitting the beach, playing in the park, exploring the outdoors and soaking up all that Vitamin D!
3. Decrease chance of heart disease.
The Framingham Heart study, a long-term study of heart disease, examined 12,000 middle-aged men across 9 years. They discovered that the subjects who took at least one vacation a year were a third (about 30%!) less likely to die from heart disease.
The same study looked at 750 women and the numbers were even more shocking. Women who did not take at least once a year to go on vacation had double the chance of having a heart attack.
The causation is not concrete, but it’s likely linked to the other reasons in this article: increase of serotonin that leads up happiness, release of stress and so on.
4. Catch up on rest and sleep.
If you’re like me, you’re always on the run. Going on vacation, you get to pick what your plans are. Instead of waking at 6:30 am, sleep until 9 am and get a full 8 hours of sleep!
5. Eat mindfully and eat more healthy.
Rather than the normal burger or chicken sandwich you may have consume at rapid speed on your 30 minute lunch break, you can take your time dining on vacation, slowly savoring and enjoying your meals.
(I know I enjoy a smoked salmon salad far more on vacation than on my average, “how much time do I have left?!” workday.)
6. Increases health of relationships.
Couples, families and friends that travel together share tighter bonds and make lifelong memories together. Healthy relationships lead to greater health in all other aspects of life.
If not for your heart’s desire, travel for your health! Deciding where to go?
For a vacation packed with beach activities or for art lovers, there are many things to do in La Jolla, California.