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Health Benefits Of Traveling

If there’s one thing that most people can agree on, it’s that there is something exciting and invigorating about traveling. The thought of going somewhere brand new can be tantalizing, and although sometimes wanderlust can cause some stress and constant wishing or planning to be somewhere else, traveling has some amazing health benefits.

Your empathy will increase

In his book “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do”,  Wallace J. Nichols talks about how vacationing near the water can help you be more compassionate by putting your emotions and mind at peace. When you lay by the water, soak of those rays and feel the sand between your toes, your brain starts to relax and reset. I know whenever I go to Hawaii, I feel so calm, which translates into empathy when I get home because have a new calm perspective about the world and people around me. I am no longer so wound up or stressed about my own life, so I am able to focus more on the needs of others. This is great because not only is traveling good for you, but it can ultimately benefit other people in your life. 

You will spend time with friends, family, or yourself

The best memories I have with my family come from vacations we have taken together. I feel like I have bonded with them the most when we have been in a different environment from our day to day routine. We’ve had new and exciting experiences and were less stressed because we are removed from our daily lives. Traveling also helps me feel more in tune with myself because I get to see new cultures, new customs and in the process learn more about myself. Many times when people go to third world countries, they have spiritual experiences because they see how lucky they are and how much they take for granted, which can also be related to that increase in empathy. Traveling is an amazing way to reconnect with yourself if you’re starting to feel like you’ve lost touch or if you feel like you need some time to yourself.

You will recharge your batteries

Although traveling can be hectic and leave you with lack of sleep, taking a vacation gives you a break from work, school and all of your responsibilities. You can’t just pack up and leave whenever you’re feeling tired or stressed, but if you plan a vacation once a year, you can give yourself some much needed time off to recharge and recoup.

You will get some exercise

I for one know that I do a crazy amount of walking whenever I travel. Over the summer I went to Italy and took over 30,000 steps a day, three times as many as I take during an average day on my college campus. This exercise is sometimes unnoticeable because you’re doing it while you’re doing exciting things, which makes it a fun way to be healthy because you’re not even trying! Having a vacation on the beach is great source of exercise as well because you can take the opportunity to run on the beach and go swimming, which can burn around 400-600 calories an hour depending on your weight.

You will be less stressed

I know that I have never been more stressed than when I was trying to navigate the Charles de Gaulle Airport in France, but besides the few stressful moments that naturally arise while traveling, stress usually decreases during vacations. I mean, think about it: Is there anything more relaxing than laying out on the beach? Or looking at beautiful scenery or landmarks? We live such complicated and stressful lives, so getting away from it all for a little while is sometimes just the thing we need to relax and unwind.

Traveling can help you live a longer life

Dr. David Lipschitz, who is the director of the Center on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, published research that showed that traveling can actually increase the length of your life by promoting a healthy lifestyle full of adventure and new experiences. As I mentioned before, people who travel more are happier, less stressed and healthier, all of which tie into a long and prosperous life.

So go ahead and make that travel list, book those hotels and research those restaurants because an investment in travel can also be a long term investment in your health and well-being.

When I'm not writing for University of Iowa's Her Campus, you can find me eating Reese's while watching the Mindy Project and trying my hardest to become Tina Fey.
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