How Traveling Keeps Me Healthy... In Both Body and Mind

06 February 2017

Traveling can alter your personality for the better among five domains — emotions, agreeableness, extraversion, openness, and conscientiousness.

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Whether you enjoy time on the beach or prefer to hike through a forest, there's one thing that's certain — we're all drawn to traveling. Of course, each time you set out on an adventure, you experience new and exciting things. Although immediately rewarding, traveling also allows you to personally grow and develop as a person.

There's a whole world to see out there, are you exploring what it has to offer?

Traveling Encourages Balance 

In order to achieve optimal health, you need seek balance in both your body and mind. Being someone who is more of an outdoor enthusiast, activities such as kayaking, hiking, camping, and exploration are what bring me the most enjoyment. With that being said, as long as I'm outdoors, experiencing something new — I'm more than content.

Whenever you go on holiday, do you ever feel lighter? As if you left your worries at home?

Well, this isn't just a feeling we experience — traveling does reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Within this day in age, the importance of stress-reducing activities should not be underestimated. Considering a large portion of the Western population suffer from chronic stress, their physical and mental health is at risk.

What is intended to help us in times of need, hence 'fight or flight' — is now becoming a health burden due to the everyday worries we encounter. From our hectic jobs to the constant bills we need to pay, we're often bogged down with worry. Perhaps you currently 'need a vacation' — so listen to what your body and mind are telling you.

Top 5 Health Benefits of Traveling 

The fact that I feel more at-peace and in-tune with my body and mind after traveling is not a unique experience. You too have probably felt this phenomenon. The truth is, traveling helps expand your mind. When you encounter new areas or new cultures, for instance, you become more open.

Traveling and exploration has most certainly contributed to my health, and if you're looking to amp up your well-being, here's how traveling can help you too:

1. Supports positive cardiovascular health

Our poor hearts work so hard day-in and day-out. In order to reward this organ, start traveling more. Regardless of what you're doing — sight-seeing, hiking, or simply rushing through the airport, travel promotes physical activity and awareness. Since traveling can also reduce stress levels, this reduction in cortisol will also promote a healthier heart.

2. Promotes positive brain health 

Life is too short to do the same thing over and over again — get out of your mundane routine! As you have likely experienced, when you travel, you see and do new things that challenge your mind — even if you're not aware of it. As you try new things, you build new connections in the brain, which improve cognitive health.

3. Enhances nutritional and cultural exposure

When you travel to new countries, or even new communities, ensure that you taste the local cuisine. Some of the best 'superfoods' we currently have available, come from different areas around the globe. As you witness new cultures, you will likely be introduced to nutrient-dense foods you've never had before. These new favorites can then be introduced into your regular diet.

4. Improves emotional stability 

As humans, we're complex beings with a range of possible emotions. Within one study, published in the Journal of Personality, it was found that traveling can alter your personality for the better among five domains — emotions, agreeableness, extraversion, openness, and conscientiousness. This also often leads to greater feelings of empathy and compassion.

5. Promotes calmness and improves learning 

If one thing is for certain, traveling often leads to a number of unique situations, as well as a lot of waiting between means of transportation. This helps you learn and adapt, while becoming more patient. As you learn to remain calm within these types of situations, you can implement this benefit into your everyday life.

At the end of the day, we're not supposed to stay in one place, doing the same things day-in and day-out. You need to challenge both your body and mind — and in turn, you'll be rewarded with a healthier, more fulfilling life. Traveling is one of the easiest ways to push ourselves and enhance our own creativity.

After all, as Matthew Karsten, a professional travel blogger and photographer once said, “An investment in travel, is an investment in yourself.”

 

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Profile image Written by Dan T

I’m Dan, and I’m the Editor in Chief of True North Athletics. I’m also an avid adventurer, digital nomad and traveler. I enjoy all types of outdoor sports, a good golf tan, and spontaneous weekend trips. I currently live in Brazil where I can be found frequently hiking the rain forest around my city!