How Travel is Good for Your Health
Here's what she said
"My husband & I made the decision when our sons were 6 & 8 to take vacations every summer and every December. Sometimes they were 9-days, sometimes just weekends, depending on our financial situation. We utilized discounts such as CityPass to make our money go further. We discovered our best "clue" as to what sights to visit was to see what sites were featured in the CityPass package. We also discovered that a vacation in December gave us a respite from the hectic holiday social obligation and frenzied shopping to focus on family time. Our gift to each other was the the vacation instead of more stuff we didn't need. Now, 13 years later, our family has so many precious photos, videos and memories that are more priceless than anything we could have bought. Bonds with our sons were formed through countless hours of travel time when they were young. That opened the door to meaningful communication when they became teenagers. Now that they are young adults, they look forward to joining my husband and me on vacations when they can. In addition to the many health benefits of taking vacations, I can attest that vacations have many "relationship" benefits. We have been married over 25 years now and when we became empty nesters, our conversations never slowed down. Why would they when we had so much to talk about and still so much of the world to explore?"
Vacations offer lots of healthy benefits: They help us recharge, reinvigorate and refresh. They strengthen ties to friends and family; they build connections to other cultures and people. Vacations broaden our experience and teach us new things about both ourselves and others.
With vacations offering so many advantages, why is it that 459 million vacation days go unused every year in the U.S.? Or that one-third of American workers fail to take full advantage of their vacation time?
Before you trade that week at the beach for meetings, appointments, email, and deadlines, check out the infographic below. Once you do, we think you’ll agree with Jens Pruessner, Ph.D., associate professor in the departments of psychiatry, psychology, neurology and neurosurgery at Montreal’s McGill University: “A vacation is not a luxury. It’s an investment in your health.”
So whether you're taking the family to Disneyland, visiting a national park, or touring around some of the fun attractions in San Francisco, make sure you do something good for your health this summer and take a trip!
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How Travel is Good for Your Health
Vacation's Impact on Health
The average American spends 261 days commuting, filling out time sheets and wondering what's for dinner
Men who do not vacation annually have a 20% higher risk of death and about 30% greater risk of death from heart disease
Women who take vacations are 50% less likely to suffer from heart disease than those who don't
Women who don't take vacations are more than 2x as likely to suffer from depression as other women who choose to take a vacation
The benefits found from engaging in multiple leisure activities including vacations are:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower stress hormones
- Help you live longer
Women who took a vacation once every 6 or more years were 8x more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack, than women who took at least 2 vacations a year
Research shows that after a few days on vacation, participants were:
- Averaging an hour more of good quality sleep
- Registered an 80% improvement in their reaction time, as measured by vigilance testing
According to Jens Pruessner, an associate professor of psychology, psychiatry, neurology and neurosurgery at McGill University in Montreal: "A vacation is not a luxury, it's an investment in your health"
Vacation reduces stress. Stress squashes your immune system and has been shown to increase your odds of suffering from:
- Adrenal dysfunction
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Facts and Figures About Paid Vacation
Approximately 459 million vacation days go unused in the United States per year
More than 1/3 of American workers don't take advantage of their vacation days
Of those who do go on vacation, only 14% go away for more than two weeks at a time
Most countries give 30 days off
In countries like Germany, UK and the Netherlands, employers are required to provide up to 20 days of paid leave
However, Americans get an average of 12 days per year
1 in 4 U.S. workers do not receive any paid vacation or paid holidays
More Reasons Why Travel is Beneficial
- You'll simply be a more well-rounded person
- You'll create lasting relationships with people you meet along the way.
- You'll develop skills you didn't know you had, like being able to climb to the top of a mountain.
- You'll learn geography.
- You'll go on fun adventures.
- You'll meet folks from other cultures and learn that the way you look at the world is not the way everyone else does.
- You'll get a chance to forget about work, school, chores and other responsibilities and just relax.
- You'll have opportunities to try new things.
- You'll eat local delicacies you have never tasted before.
- You'll have more life satisfaction because you participate in leisure activities.