Work prevents many of us from travelling as often as we’d like—that and money. But when we do get away, even just for a weekend, we come back feeling rejuvenated. The stress melts off and our moods improve (so long as the trip went well). Although these effects may feel short-term once normal life resumes, science states otherwise.
Physical Advantages of Travelling the World
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, active travel lowers myriad health risks, including heart disease, diabetes and various cancers. Similar research estimates the following:
- Men reduce the risk of a heart attack by 32% by travelling regularly;
- Women reduce the risk of a heart attack by 50% by travelling regularly;
- Men who travel often are 21% less likely to die early;
- Women who seldom travel are twice as likely to suffer from depression.
How Travel Promotes Mental Wellbeing
Travel can fend off depression in women because of the psychological benefits new experiences provide. As the brain’s neural pathways perceive new things, it adapts, which increases our cognitive flexibility. Consequently, many travellers experience a greater capacity for creativity and a stronger hold over their emotions.
Travel also introduces us to new cultures and people. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology states the more effective we are at adapting to new cultures the bigger creative gains we yield.
Even if we never become more creative individuals, travel expands our awareness and empathy. Simply learning about the history of new places and connecting with people provide ample social advantages. Many of us follow semi-sheltered lives and travel is the best way to break from these moulds.