Have you caught the travel bug yet? If you haven’t, you should! As the worries and stress about vacation time or missing important work days have dwindled, the world can be your oyster. Regardless of your ability to travel near or far, research has shown that any kind of travel can be immensely beneficial for both your mental and physical health. This fact is especially true for seniors who, in particular, can benefit from the mind and body workout required for travel.
Papers such as “Destination Healthy Aging: The Physical, Cognitive, and Social Benefits of Travel” highlight many of the ways travel can be beneficial to the minds of seniors. Travel and the events that go along with it keep the mind active and engaged by flexing mental muscles. Activities such as exploring new cities, walking through museums, chatting with new people, hearing new languages, and observing new scenes do just that.
In addition, there is the relaxation factor. Many people think that seniors have plenty of relaxation, but there is a certain relief felt from getting out of the usual routine in the usual setting. Many people also have social, professional, and familial events to think about on a regular basis. Dr. Margaret J. King, director of the Center for Cultural Studies and Analysis, once said, “With a short list of activities each day, freed up from the complexities of ongoing projects and relationships, the mind can rest, as does the body, with stress relief the main outcome.”
With travel, comes physical activity. Whether it’s walking around the park, exploring new cities by public transportation or hiking for the perfect view for a picture, there can be many physical challenges involved with travel. These trials can do wonders for improving your physical health and keeping you in shape. However, it is important for seniors to remember not to push yourselves too hard. Take a break if the physical work becomes too difficult to handle in order to rejuvenate and stay safe.
To ensure a fun and beneficial getaway, it is necessary for you to be conscientious about taking care of yourself before, during, and after the trip. Here are some tips to keep your traveling experiences healthy and exciting:
- Ask your doctor for approval before you go anywhere. Regardless of if you are traveling around the world or an hour away, it’s a smart idea to let your doctor know what activities you’re planning on doing and who you’re going with.
- Keep your family and friends informed. Tell them what you are doing and where you are staying. Giving your loved ones an itinerary would also be very helpful in the event of an emergency.
- Get travel insurance. If something goes wrong, you will be thankful you are covered. Whether you are traveling abroad or to an out-of-network area, you will want to be responsible for purchasing travel insurance.
- Don’t push yourself too hard. It is easy to get lost in the fun of exploring, but you must listen to your body. If you feel exhausted or like you have had enough physical work for one day, take a breather and relax.