First up Fitness!By Jo Southall -
We all love a good holiday. Throughout our lives we enjoy a variety of new experiences—it’s human nature to explore. But it’s not all about having a week off work and enjoying the sunshine, there are some actual scientifically proven health benefits to traveling.
The easiest forms of exercise to do are those that are part of everyday life, such as walking or cycling rather than taking the bus. Part of exploring a new area often comes in the form of walking, so taking a stroll through country gardens or browsing through boutiques can actually count as your daily dose of exercise! Holidays also provide a great opportunity to join in with leisure activities like swimming, dancing, or hiking. As well as boosting fitness, leisure activities can also be a social activity. You can make new friends, build on existing relationships, and make memories that last a lifetime. There are loads of health and social benefits to engaging in leisure activities especially for older people.
The Positive Effects of Travel
Fitness aside, traveling can have a great impact on how you feel. Scientific studies by Neal et al., (2007) and Sirgy et al., (2011) have demonstrated that positive experiences while on holiday can actually make you feel better about life. Freedom from normal routines, challenging ourselves with new experiences and taking a step back from work can actually improve how satisfied you feel about life. Travel can reduce stress, help manage pain, improve sleep, and boost confidence. These benefits aren’t just while you’re away, they can last for up to a month after you get back too! Gump and Matthews (2000) found that people who travel frequently have less ‘non-fatal cardio vascular events’ than people who don’t travel… I think a little more research is needed to prove that regular holidays can actually prevent heart attacks though! From a work point of view, no less than 10 different studies have found that the reduction in stress and increase in wellbeing can reduce burn out at work and can actually improve work productivity. Taking regular holidays can even reduce the amount of time employees take off sick so make sure you tell your boss that if you’re struggling to get time off!
How Does This Apply to People with Disabilities?
The benefits of traveling are especially true for people who don’t usually get the opportunity to go on holiday. Unfortunately, people living on a low income, long term patients and people with disabilities can often be excluded from the holiday-goodness for health, financial or access reasons. Low-income families who do enjoy the occasional holiday can gain new experiences and deal better with every-day life difficulties. Spending quality time with family members can also improve relationships and form life long-memories. People with physical disabilities benefit from all the same perks as non-disabled people but often value the experience more. Taking a break can help people with mental health conditions improve their self-identity, learn new skills and build relationships. Hopefully you now have more than enough justification to book yourself weekend away!
… just in case you’re still not convinced: Around 1 in every 5 people in the UK has low levels of vitamin D. One of the ways to increase your Vit D is to get out in the sunshine so why not head out on an adventure?
Ciao for now
P.s. If you'd like to read more from me please pop over to my website.
Further reading - Chen, C. Petrick, J. (2013) Health and Wellness Benefits of Travel Experiences: A Literature Review. Journal of Travel Research. 52(6), 709-719.