Retirement Life

Stay younger for longer – why travelling is a must

Stay younger for longer – why travelling is a must

Seasoned travellers may understand the excitement of landing in a new city or country for the first time, and all the benefits that come from exploring new sights, sounds and tastes. But for those who have yet to embrace travel, the benefits might not be as obvious. For retired Australians, now is the perfect time to get travelling. With your work life behind you, and a new, relaxing chapter ahead, travel has numerous benefits.

Make the most of your golden years, and maybe even delay the move to aged care a little longer with some local, or even international travel. In collaboration with Aged Care Prepare, here are a couple of reasons why travel can help you stay younger for longer.

Healthy body

We all know that increased physical activity helps keep your body in shape, and your blood pressure low, but regular travel helps your body even further. Studies have shown that by taking a complete break from your everyday environment through regular travel, you can make a positive impact on your risk of heart disease.

The well-known Framingham Heart Study, which began in 1948, took 5,209 participants and gathered information about their lifestyle and behaviour. The results of their 20-year study on women aged 45 to 64, found that those who took a holiday at least twice a year had a much lower risk of having a heart attack or heart-related death compared to women who only travelled every six years or so.

Meanwhile, the results of a nine-year study on men found that those who took a holiday every year had 20 per cent less chance of a heart-related death than those who did not. These studies took into account previous health issues, as well as wealth, and concluded that travel was the factor that contributed to a decreased risk of heart-related issues.

While travelling does increase the amount of daily activities you do, and keeps you in shape in the present, it also contributes to the long-term wellbeing of your heart. This is because it has a positive effect on stress levels. As you take time out from the daily routine, whether it be with family, friends or just your loved one, your body takes a well-deserved break from potentially stressful demands and activities.

Healthy mind

While travel increases physical activity, so too does it increase mental activity. Research from the Global Coalition on Aging has found that travel provides a level of mental stimulation necessary for prolonged brain health. A walk in the park may lift your spirits, but travelling to an entirely new place, where your brain has to take in and process new sights, smells and cultures, challenges it at a cellular level. Challenging your brain in this way fights off the onset of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, keeping your brain fitter for longer.

Within this research, Dr. Paul D. Nussbaum, a clinical neuropsychologist and Adjunct Professor of Neurological Surgery, states that, “Travel is good medicine. Because it challenges the brain with new and different experiences and environments, it is an important behaviour that promotes brain health and builds brain resilience across the lifespan.” Novelty is a brain stimulator, the perfect requirement in maintaining and improving cognitive health.

Whether it’s a short local holiday to a new part of Australia every six months, or an annual or two-yearly trip to a new country, taking a break from the everyday has far-reaching benefits on your life. While it reduces any current feelings of stress and provides a new, stimulating experience, it also improves long-term heart and brain health.