Photo credit: theglobalpanorama
You can stop making excuses. No more "We'll take that trip next year," or "We'll travel when we're retired." A multi-million dollar research project by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) and Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) has proven that travel provides more than just a good time. In addition to the social and psychological benefits of exploring new places and cultures, travel provides scientifically-proven cognitive and physical benefits.
Travel Is a Must for Kids
Research from the TCRS and GCOA study published by the U.S. Travel Association found that children between the ages of 12 and 18 who travel outside of their region perform better in school. In addition to being more interested in their studies, kids who travel are more likely to earn college degrees. The study may seem biased toward children of wealthier parents with more money to travel, but researchers confirmed that kids from a wide range of social classes were examined. The results were consistent across all classes.
Adults Are Healthier When They Travel
The benefits of travel weren't just obvious among the kids studied. The research project proved that travel can create major health benefits among men and women. Women who took a vacation every six years, or even less often, had a significantly higher risk of heart attack or coronary death than women who took a vacation at least twice a year. Similarly, men who didn't take annual vacation showed a 20-percent higher risk of death and a 30-percent higher risk of death from heart disease.
The Benefits Start Immediately
The study found that the benefits of travel among adults are almost immediate. After only a day or two of vacation, 89-percent of the respondents saw significant decreases in stress. The study also confirmed that 59-percent of Americans dream of traveling once retired, but the most impactful trips are those enjoyed with family and friends.
Similar Studies Prove Even More Benefits
If you're still not convinced that it's time to book your plane tickets and starting planning an upcoming getaway, a number of additional studies prove even more benefits associated with travel. During an MRI study, Swedish scientists discovered that learning a foreign language showed substantial growth in specific parts of the brain, including those involved with creativity and memory. A study of 853 adults by Edinburgh University found benefits to learning a second language beyond childhood. Similarly, Canadian studies found that being bilingual could delay the onset of dementia and the effects of alzheimer's disease.
What Are You Waiting for?
In addition to the scientifically-proven health benefits of traveling, exploring new places and new cultures can have a positive impact in a multitude of other ways. Discovering new ways of living and seeing the world can give you a different perspective on your own life. Maybe it's time to start a new career path or simply start appreciating the access you have to food, shelter, and clean drinking water. Traveling offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in new cultures, taste new foods, and discover new ways of living to help you discover that "different" should never be confused with "bad."
Whether you're in need of a serious de-stressing or are looking for a new way to enjoy life, the study performed by the TCRS and GCOA proves that travel is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook