To Your Health: How Travel Improves Your Well-Being

Date2015-07-04

Travel is a fantastic way to expand your horizons and continue learning no matter your age. In fact, there are numerous advantages to traveling once you've hit 50 or better. If you're retired, you can travel in the shoulder season when everyone else is working or in school. You'll not only encounter fewer crowds, but also be eligible for some spectacular discounts. Of course, senior discounts help make travel more affordable no matter the time of year. However, did you know that travel can significantly improve your health?

When most people envision retirement, their minds go to the wonderful vacations they'll enjoy. One of the keys to being able to fulfill those visions is good health. However, the Global Coalition on Aging recently published Destination Healthy Aging, a white paper that demonstrates how travel can actually improve the health of the individual.

Drawing from numerous scientific studies conducted around the world, the publication highlights the health benefits that may be derived from engaging in common tourist activities like visiting a museum, figuring out transportation in a new place or becoming familiar with the nuances of a foreign culture. It turns out that these activities support physical, mental and emotional health no matter how old or young you may be. Nonetheless, researchers indicate that it's people over 50 who generally reap the most from these benefits.

Consider how much physical effort goes into even the simplest of getaways. You might find yourself lifting and bending to pack your suitcase and then toting those bags around the airport. While you're at your destination you could easily spend the bulk of your days walking. You might also have opportunities to swim or enjoy the fitness facilities at a resort. Vacation can be a wonderful excuse to get moving, and that's always good news for people with common ailments like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

It can be especially easy after retirement to let social and family ties relax a bit. Many people just let themselves get too isolated, which isn't good for emotional health. The beauty of travel is that it's the perfect opportunity to reconnect with family and friends in various places. It's also a chance to meet people and create new connections that can last for a lifetime. That's why travel is so important for emotional health.

Travel is also great for stimulating your brain. Discovering new sights and sounds is a challenge for your brain. Just working with a map to figure out how to get from point A to point B is excellent stimulation that's essential for maintaining mental sharpness. Think of all the new places you'll see and the people you'll meet. Each experience gives your brain power a boost, and that means leading a more meaningful life for many more years.

Visiting new places is certainly good for you, so why aren't you traveling more? Evidence gathered by scientists suggests that traveling comes with a variety of health benefits that can significantly add to your quality of life. Rather than being an indulgence, it's time to start seeing travel as an essential part of your physical, emotional and mental well-being. Whether you decide to visit family in the Midwest or have an exotic adventure in Tokyo, you're likely to experience better health as a result.