By: Rajbinder Grewal, This Mama Needs a Vacay
We all understand the benefits, and need, for regular exercise and balanced eating to keep ourselves healthy – both mentally and physically. We invest in gym memberships, stock our fridges up with kale and kombucha (and convince ourselves that it tastes great!), and help keep up Lululemon’s stock by making sure we have the right leggings to do our squats in. But what about travel? Sure, hitting up a gorgeous beach with all you can drink margaritas is a dream winter escape, but travel is actually a key piece in maintaining your good health.
I think we’ve all dreamed of escaping the everyday mundane and pictured ourselves on a white sand beach with turquoise blue waves gently lapping onto the shore to induce a state of relaxation. Travel has so many more benefits than just relaxation, although chilling out can be enough of a reason to book that trip. But if you need more reasons, read on:
Yep, probably the most obvious reason we take our vacation time and go away somewhere. Stress takes a huge toll on our bodies and minds (and waistlines and hairlines and everything in between). We’ve all been told that the best way to manage that stress is to simply “relax.” Ha! Easier said than done right? While there are numerous techniques, programs and online apps to help us be more mindful and to relax, sometimes physically getting away from the daily grind is the best way to induce relaxation.
Improves your heart health
Even if the only exercise your travel plans include are madly dashing between gates at the airport, it still counts towards improving your heart health through physical movement. Being active is necessary for our heart health and can help to lower blood pressure (although you may not feel like it in that exact moment that you are running to board your plane!). According to the World Health Organization, lowering your blood pressure can help to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke . But even wandering aimlessly in a big city or taking slow leisurely strolls on the beach, are forms of physical movement that can benefit your heart. Perhaps vacation activities such hiking, mountain climbing, surfing or swimming provide you with more physical activity, any kind of active movement during your trip counts
Fosters Meaningful Relationships
“In humans, social connection is essential to nearly every aspect of health and well-being”. I’m a huge advocate for travel with others in order to help strengthen your bonds with one another. Increasingly we need to feel connected to one another outside of the digital world. So whether its a girls weekend, a romantic trip with your spouse or a multi generational adventure with your kids in tow, travelling with others helps to create special memories and shared experiences that bond you closer together. Even if some of those special memories are of you yelling at your kids to stop eating the sand at the beach.
Traveling can open your eyes to a different world, or just open them up more clearly to the one you live in. Taking in and experiencing new cultures can challenge your own assumptions and beliefs, allowing you to grow. Because growth is good right? From trying new foods, to hearing new voices spoken in a different tongue, to seeing how people live, travelling allows you to broaden your views and to gain perspective about your own problems. Sometimes though travel forces other challenges on us, such as anxiety while boarding a plane, or navigating a new city and having to ask for help. But as we overcome these challenges, we create resiliency in ourselves which in turn grows a stronger you.
Sometimes we crave a break in our routine to help spark passions, ideas and creativity. Travel induced creativity can help to reignite curiosity and excitement in our daily life. After my trip to Sedona, where I took in beauty of the majestic red rocks, I was inspired to go back to my first passion of writing (and look Ma, I’m writing!) Inspiration can be sparked through experiences in the great outdoors, through meeting new people and exploring and learning about new cultures. This inspiration sparks curiosity and creativity in any area of your personal or professional life, and that can lead to increased happiness and brain development, resulting in a happier, healthier you!
So whatever it is that you do for your health and well being, remember that travel can play a big role in that. Book yourself a trip, find yourself a new adventure or a quiet beach to relax on – it’s for your good health.
To read more of Raj’s amazing travel tip check out her blog at This Mama Needs a Vacay