There are many things we associate with a healthy body and mind: Eating the right food, drinking plenty of water, and getting regular exercise. But we often overlook the health benefits of travel. For some people, a vacation is a chance to just relax and do nothing. Even at this basic level, travel can be an escape from the stress of daily life – like releasing a pressure valve.

Sharpen The Mind

For others, travel is a more adventurous activity that can stimulate the mind and body in many ways. Travel is great for keeping the mind sharp as it forces us to concentrate and stay alert. A prime way in which our brains are exercised differently when abroad is when dealing with different languages: many travelers prepare for their trips by either brushing up on existing language skills or picking up a basic proficiency to get by. Taking language classes, whether online or face to face, stimulates the brain. Putting the knowledge into practice with real-world situations abroad only enhances your proficiency and improves confidence, making it perhaps easier to pick up other new languages in the future, too. 

Exposing our brains to new experiences and different environments can boost cognitive stimulation. This helps sharpen the memory and improve concentration. Immersing yourself in a new culture, visiting new places, and meeting new people is extremely stimulating. It can also promote feelings of euphoria, which relieve tension and stress. Travelers who visit new destinations on each trip benefit even more from this mental stimulation than those who go to the same place every year.

Get physical

Traveling also promotes physical activity. Even before you arrive at your destination, packing and preparing, traveling to the airport, and getting to your accommodation gets your heart pumping. If you are heading to a city, the chances are you will spend a lot of time walking through the streets, just exploring. Even on a weekend break, you can cover many miles without even realizing it, wandering between sights and tracking down the best places to eat.

If you are very active, you might head to the countryside and climb up a mountain or go to the beach and enjoy some water sports or a boat ride. Physical activity can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes. It also improves sleep quality.

A Creative Boost

If you are a creative type, travel could be just what you need to inspire you. Travel has been linked with enhanced creativity due to the way it requires you to engage with stimuli such as new cultures gastronomy, history, and community. This can broaden the mind and help boost creativity. This is particularly true of those who immerse themselves in new languages and cultures, rather than just spending their days by the pool.

Whatever way you travel, it seems there are benefits to be gained on a physical and mental level. Whether you just want to get some sun in the middle of a grim winter or go on a great adventure to Machu Picchu, the benefits of travel make it worthwhile. So where will you be heading next?