Improve your health, energy levels, and performance at work by vacationing.
A shocking one-third of North Americans do not take vacation days. Excuses like “they need me in the office,” “I don’t have the time” and “I won’t get a raise” are typical reasons why people are not taking paid vacation, let alone unpaid vacations.
Since Canada has no mandatory vacation time, workers often simply forgo their accrued vacation days, take a payout, or forget about them all together!
Skipping a vacation or planning to take it ‘next year’ is not only bad for your performance at work, it increases your chances of burnout and health problems. There are multiple studies to prove that travel is, in fact, good for your physical and cognitive health.
7 reasons travel is good for your health
1. Digital detox
Travelling is the perfect time to try a digital detox. One study reveals that we spend over 11 hours a day staring at screens. Screen time is significantly linked to increased anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. Our electronic devices can become addictive and take over not only work, but leisure time.
Travelling takes you outside of your normal routine, giving you the opportunity to put down your phone or laptop and simply be in the present moment. Learn more about the benefits of a digital detox in our previous blog posts.
Travelling to new places makes it easy to get in your 10,000 steps or more! In a recent poll, 63% of people said that they walk more on vacation than at home. Exploring historic sites, new cafes, or bustling cities will have you joining walking tours, biking tours and even wine tours, all of which will get you moving.
It’s no secret that physical exercise is good for you. Getting your blood flowing can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol as well as release happy chemicals into your brain known as endorphins and serotonin.
3. Heart health
Heart health is a combination of a lot of factors, one being exercises mentioned above, and another being stress and/or anxiety. According to the Framingham Heart Study “men who don’t take vacations were 30% more likely to have heart attack and for women it went up to 50%”.
Travel simply lets you take the load off for a bit. Obligations and stress of your everyday routine can be put aside, allowing your heart to go back into its normal rhythm. We often think of self care as a practice for mental wellbeing, but more and more data is showing us that there are also physical benefits of ‘me-time.’
4. Brain health
The brain is another organ that is positively affected through travel. As with the heart, the brain is affected by high blood pressure and stress, all of which can be decreased on vacation.
Travel also helps to keep the brain sharp, alert, creative and adaptable. Studies show that travel forces our brains to think outside the box, creating new neural pathways.
Encountering new experiences also aids in opening the mind through cognitive flexibility. This enables us to be more adaptable and grow from change, as opposed to resisting it.
5. Increased immune system
Have you ever heard the saying “travel is the best probiotic”? To some degree, this is true. Exposure to new bacteria can grow and strengthen our gut flora. It can also increase our immune system by developing more antibodies.
Trying new foods and living in new places is all part of travel, and behind the scenes, your body is protecting you from new bacteria. Research shows that some exposure to new bugs strengthens the immune system. However, it is important to get your pre-trip vaccinations to keep you safe and healthy from major illness while on vacation.
6. Mental Health
Being aware of and taking care of your mental health is priceless. Travel can take us out of our buzzing minds and back onto our body by reminding us of the simple pleasures in life – nature, connection, food, love, and adventure. Trying new things, meeting new people and laughing are all good for our wellbeing.
Studies show that after just three days on vacation people reported decreased anxiety, stress, and depression.
Another benefit to your mental health when on vacation is alternative health treatments. Outside of our normal routines we are more likely to try new things, and this includes massages, spas, retreats, natural wellness, and ayurvedic medicine to name a few. All of these things contribute to slowing down, and can be a souvenir that you bring home and incorporate into your normal routine.
7. Strengthen bonds
Experiencing this beautiful world with your partner or family is the perfect recipe for creating life-lasting memories.
Travelling has infinite opportunities to meet new people, creating new bonds, and forming new relationships around the world.
Plan that vacation.
If you are still on the fence about taking a vacation this year, consider this finding from a Harvard Study: “If you take 11 or more of your vacation days, you are more than 30% more likely to receive a raise at work”. If for nothing else, do it for the money.
Our travel specialists are experienced in all kinds of travel, from family to solo to health & wellness. They will be happy to assist with any questions you may have.