A quick review of travel advice from the major media outlets will show a frightening image of travel health risks, ash cloud delays and even terrorism. It’s no surprise that most people have significant reservations about leaving home for a trip to a new place. What doesn’t get nearly as much attention are the health benefits from traveling the world.
1. Exercise – Almost without exception, I walk much more while traveling than when I am at home. Living in suburbia as I do, the LandLoper Swagger Wagon is my major source of transportation. The most walking I do on a daily basis is walking from the metro to whatever meeting I need to attend. However, when I’m on a trip I am suddenly transformed into a veritable walking machine. Visions of entering Olympic speed walking competitions suddenly enter my mind. Although we certainly use public transportation, our legs really are the primary mode of transportation. Extrapolate this over the course of a trip, and the amount of exercise we enjoy is considerable.
2. Culinary Exploits – Once again, a product of a busy work day and hectic private life, my diet almost always suffers. Breakfast is reduced to either nothing or a muffin and while lunch is usually ok, dinner is where we go off the rails. Take-away is often on the menu due to our crazy schedules, which is definitely not part of a healthy lifestyle. On the road though, we very rarely eat fast food, always enjoy a light and healthy breakfast and eat lots of well cooked foods with plenty of veg. While I readily admit to enjoying a Nutella crepe or a gelato cone, overall our travel diet is surprisingly admirable. (I chose to exclude consideration of copious amounts of churros in Madrid when writing this)
3. The Great Outdoors – While this is certainly dependent on location, the sheer act of being outside for most of the day is an inherently healthy activity. (Athens and Beijing do not make this list) In addition to the physical health benefits of being outside, the mental health benefits are equally important. There is something so genuinely calming and relaxing when admiring a beach, city park or mountain view that makes this travel habit a pleasant reprieve from normal life.
4. Don’t Worry, Be Happy – It may sound simplistic and perhaps overly saccharine, but if you chose your travel destination well, then your trip will be a relaxing and happy experience. Dozens of studies have proven both the physical and metal health benefits from eliminating stress and just being happy. This is also why it is tremendously important not to over plan your trip and to allow yourself to go slowly and truly enjoy your surroundings.