The Prescribed Vacation: Why Travel is Good for your Health

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Most people look forward to their yearly vacation. Whether it’s just a short weekend here or a week there, getting away can have a great effect on your overall outlook. However, did you realize that a vacation can also help you to improve your overall wellbeing? It may sound bizarre, but a week by the sea or exploring an ancient city can help you be healthier.

Many people are skipping their vacation because of work demands, money, stress, or the ill effects caused from the time away. On average, the U.S. employee takes about 16 days off per year as of 2013. In 2000, the average was 20 days per year. When you deprive yourself of a much-needed break, you can cause damaging effects to your health. The stress overload is enough to kill you. Being able to immerse yourself in new surroundings can boost your brain power and allow your body to recharge. Here are five reasons why you should take a break.

De-Stress Your Body

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We all know that stress can cause great physical harm to the body. In a constant state of unrest, you can experience headaches, heart palpitations, nausea, heartburn, fatigue, and the list goes on and on. The body releases excess cortisol when it is stressed out. Cortisol puts the body in fight or flight mode. Author Wallace J. Nichols wrote a book on the benefits of a vacation. The tranquil ocean air can reset your energy and boost empathy and compassion. Your emotions are always involved when stress is at a max. So, going on vacation can release pent up emotions and allow you to rejuvenate and de-stress. Whether mountains or ocean side, a change of scenery can do you good.

Improve Your Physical Man

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Traveling outside the United States proves to be quite physical. Many people depend on cars or the public transportation systems here. However, Japan travel might show you a different take on life. In these areas where massive population exists, it is much easier to walk and ride bikes. Skip the car and grab a pair of tennis shoes. Nothing helps to fight stress and the battle of the bulge like a jaunt around an ancient city. You could even try a fitness-centric resort that has your health in mind. A study conducted by NBC News stated that more people are choosing a vacation that has health benefits in mind. From places that serve culinary low-carb diets to those that offer exciting exercise programs, traveling doesn’t have to mean gorging on an unhealthy lifestyle.

Immerse Yourself In a New Culture

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When traveling outside your comfort realm, you will often see how blessed you are. For instance, travel to a third world country will show that the modern conveniences are not as important. Things that you take for granted are a necessity for another person. Embracing cultures where people are thankful for the smallest of things is eye-opening. It can give you a whole new perception of your life. Dr. Margaret J. King, the director of the Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis, states “exploring a new culture can eliminate stress too”.

Rest and Relaxation

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The National Sleep Foundation’s Max Hirshkowitz states that “rest is an important part of your vacation”. His book Sleep Disorders For Dummies shows that taking a break from everyday stressors can help improve sleep disorders. Though you will probably be exploring new sites and taking in all the culture you can, you also need to incorporate rest into your plans. High-stress jobs and no rest is a dangerous combination. Make sure that during all your exploration you take the time to sleep. Take a nap if possible, or just sleep in late. You need to recharge your internal battery. Sleep helps fight stress and relax the body.

You Will Improve Your Mood

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It is difficult to set on a beach in a tropical location and be in a bad mood. American College of Emergency Physicians’ Dr. Leigh Vinocur has written many articles about the benefits of water. No wonder so many people head to a beach to unwind. If you are feeling down in the dumps, a vacation may be the mood booster that you need. The longer you wait to take your vacation, the more downtrodden, your mood can become.

When considering whether to take a vacation think of the health benefits. Sure, it costs money to travel. However, you can either pay for money to have a great time and relax, or you can pay for doctor bills because your stress levels are causing health problems. Why not enjoy a week or two of time for yourself? Travel is the best way to cure what ails you.

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About Bethany Cleg

Bethany Cleg is a small business owner at Bethany Cleg Photography. She is an avid writer, photographer, and tech geek. When she’s not writing or taking pictures, you’ll find her hiking with her family.