Traveling is a lot of fun. Anybody that’s been lucky enough to travel knows that. What even the most experienced travelers might not know, however, is that it’s legitimately good for you.
Just like a drinking a kale smoothie, hitting the gym, or getting a good night’s sleep, there are scientifically-proven health benefits to exploring the world we live in.
Here are three proven health benefits of traveling:
Travel is Great for your Mental Health
Stress tends to melt away while you’re traveling—particularly if you’re traveling somewhere warm—but the mental health benefits of travel will last long after your trip concludes.
According to a study from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, people that traveled recently tend to feel more rested, less anxious, and in an overall better mood for a significant period after their trip ends. Those perks, in turn, benefit our job performances, our relationships, and lots more.
Travel Reduces Your Risk of Heart Disease
We’ve already established that travel is good for your mind. As it turns out, it’s also good for your heart!
A joint study undertaken by the Global Commission on Aging, the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, and the U.S. Travel Association found that women who vacation at least twice a year are at significantly lower risk of heart attacks than those who travel less frequently.
The study also found that men who don’t vacation at least once a year are 30% more likely to suffer from heart disease and 20% more likely to die from heart-related issues.
Knowing that, why wait for your next vacation?
Traveling Boosts Creativity
Most writers, musicians and artists know the frustration of being stuck in a creative rut. Yet creativity is important to people in just about every field—whether what you do technically qualifies as art or not. Creativity, after all, is what helps us navigate some of life’s biggest challenges—from our jobs, to our personal lives, to that frustratingly difficult video game you’re stuck on.
The good news is that traveling is a great creativity booster.
According to Adam Galinsky, a researcher from Northwestern University, there’s a definite link between traveling to far-off destinations and creativity—as long as you’re sufficiently engaged by the world around you.
“Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,” he explained. “The key, critical process is multicultural engagement, immersion, and adaptation. Someone who lives abroad and doesn’t engage with the local culture will likely get less of a creative boost than someone who travels abroad and really engages in the local environment.”