Think of holiday health, and you might picture jet lag, over-indulgence and even a bout of traveller’s tummy. But in fact, there are a huge number of long-term benefits of going on holiday for your health, both body and mind. Here are six reasons why travelling might help you live longer…
It keeps you active.
Being physically active decreases major health problems like cancer and cardiovascular disease. In fact, trading just two minutes of sitting on the sofa for walking each hour can help you live as much as a third longer, scientists claim. And when you’re on holiday, you’re probably moving around a lot more than that. Plus, let’s face it, nothing is going to get you moving faster than knowing you’ll be walking all day when you’re on holiday somewhere beautiful.
It helps your heart.
Going on holiday can have a seriously positive impact on your cardio health. According to research carried out by The Global Commission on Aging in the US, women who took holidays every six years or less had a significantly higher risk of developing a heart attack or coronary death compared with women who vacationed at least twice a year. Men who didn’t take a break annually were shown to have a 20 percent higher risk of death and about a 30 percent greater risk of death from heart disease.
It might prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.
Incredibly, a similar study in the States conducted a poll and found that travel, especially for retirees, can help to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. “The brain is shaped by environmental input,” says neuropsychologist Paul Nussbaum, founder of the Brain Health Center, and professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “When we travel, we put our brain down in an environment we’re not used to, which can have real benefits.”
You can learn from the healthiest people on the planet.
If your travels take you to places where people live the longest, you can soak up the wisdom of their super-healthy experience. In Ikaria, a Greek island in the far east of the Mediterranean, people live on average 10 years longer than those in the rest of Europe and America – around one in three Ikarians lives into their 90s. Not only that, but they also have much lower rates of cancer and heart disease, suffer less depression and dementia, and remain physically active into their 90s.
It makes you happier and can help fight depression.
The same study that discovered the benefits of travel on your heart, also found that holidays dramatically improve mood, with 86 percent of those who travel saying they are satisfied with their outlook on life. This compared with 75 percent of those who don’t travel. And since experiencing positive emotions lowers the risk for cardiovascular disease, travel is a great way to stay happy and healthy.
It lowers your stress levels and blood pressure.
Another study, this one carried out by Nuffield Health, found lower blood pressure, improved sleep quality and better stress management were all health benefits resulting from travelling. In fact, participants even felt the effects for at least two weeks after their return. Those who took part in the study saw a 17% improvement on sleep quality post taking a trip, while the average blood pressure dropped by 6%.
So, there you have it – in case you needed any more reasons to get that holiday booked for this summer, you can add living longer to the list.