It's that time of year when most of us are going (or have already been) off on our travels.
Of course, we can pick up some unhealthy habits while travelling – all that overeating, overdrinking and forgetting to apply sunscreen – but it's also possible to be healthy on your summer holiday or gap year abroad. In fact, travel can actually be better for us than staying at home. Read on to find out how...
1. Travel can reduce stress
Sometimes we just need to get away from it all for a while. Work and responsibilities can mount up and leave us feeling overwhelmed. Travel gives us the opportunity to leave it all behind for a week or two (or more) and relax in a new environment. Studies have shown that people who take an annual vacation have lower blood pressure and a lower risk of heart disease than those who don't.
2. Travel can keep you fit
We're often more active while we're travelling. Think of all that walking you do when exploring a new city. Depending on what kind of trip you're on, travel also gives you the opportunity to try new sports such as surfing, scuba diving, orienteering, skiing...the list is endless.
3. Travel can encourage you to try new foods
While you're in another country, you'll probably come across different foods and dishes that you've never heard of before. Make a point of trying as many new things as possible. Go to the local market and stock up on some exotic fruits and vegetables, or order an unfamiliar meal in the restaurant at dinner time.
4. Travel can expand your mind
Travelling gives you the opportunity to talk to new people, experience different cultures and learn new languages or improve at ones you might already know a little of. It also exercises your problem solving abilities – not everything will go to plan during your trip and you'll need to learn to be flexible.
5. Travel can combat depression
According to the American Psychological Association, vacations lead to higher positive emotional levels, lower rates of depression and better overall outlook on life. This could be due to a number of factors: less stress, increased serotonin levels from the sun, new experiences or the sense of awe we can feel when discovering the immense beauty of the world we live in. Whatever the reason, even the anticipation and planning of some time away can increase your happiness levels.
So now you've got no excuse. If you're trying to get or stay fit this year, there's really no need to let your summer holiday ruin your gains!
Leave a comment about how you stay healthy while travelling or tell me your favourite travel-related memory!