Updated: Jun 2
After the recent challenges experienced getting through the pandemic - specifically when my family’s physical and mental health took a real nosedive - I began my journey to become a Wellness Travel Specialist. Yes, there’s an actual certification for such a thing! After beginning to study the subject, the benefits of Wellness Travel became clear.
Did you know, on average, there are 500 Million unused vacation days per year in the United States? Wow! This has only increased as we re-establish getting back to the office work routines or have switched to post-pandemic new careers and feel we can’t take time off until we’re not the new person anymore. But not taking time off has very real physical & mental side-effects and should be considered both a physical and a mental health need.
Quite a few studies have been done on the subject and the results are clear - vacation time improves heart health, reduces stress & improves sleep. All of which are key components to your personal wellness now and in the future.
Improves Heart Health- Studies have proven that regular vacations of a week or more could help reduce the risk for a number of related heart health issues such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess belly fat and abnormal cholesterol levels. These are all health issues that are key elements that raise the risk for heart disease and stroke, not to mention type 2 diabetes. In a study published in Psychology and Health in June 2019, the research found that with each additional vacation taken, the risk went down by ¼.
Reduces Stress- The American Psychological Association conducted a study that concluded time off helps to reduce stress. When people take time off and distance themselves from the activities and/or environments that are associated with their anxiety. This could be work, school or even relationships that are causing stress and anxiety. By taking a vacation, even a stay-cation, the benefits are clear…as long as you also stop the connection with the stressors. So, no taking calls/meetings, checking emails or texts that will keep you connected to your stress!
Improves Sleep A study funded by New Zealand Air asked travelers to wear a sleep tracker and also asked them to respond to a set of questions before, during & after their vacation. This study found that it only took a few days of vacation time for the travel participants to average an hour more of good-quality sleep. I would love an hour more of quality sleep every day! The report also stated the travelers were still sleeping close to an hour more after returning home.
To me, Travel = Wellness. It’s clear that traveling has specific health advantages. The benefits of a healthier heart, less stress and better sleep even stay with you for a period of time after your vacation and increase with each additional vacation taken. So, take the time off, enjoy a vacation and reap the health rewards. That’s an easy decision in my book!
About Our Village Contributor
Kim Huber - Travel Advisor
Local Franchise Owner & Orlando Resident
Travel planning for individuals, families or group travel. We specialize in adventure travel, destination weddings or honeymoons, wine tours/cruises, ocean cruises and river cruises.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Village Connect by 3rdArm, Inc.