When you return from a vacation feeling relaxed and refreshed, that’s not just an emotional response to time away from work and daily worries: you’re experiencing some of the nourishing effects of traveling. It turns out that jetting off to relax on the beach in Turks and Caicos or to explore ruins in Tulum isn’t an indulgence — research says that vacationing is actually good for your health.
We consulted Dr. Mehmet Oz, who elaborated on how traveling for pleasure affects your well-being. He says that:
- Taking vacations can lower men’s risk of death by 21 percent and mortality from cardiovascular disease by 32 percent.
- Among women, a lack of vacation is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and death from heart disease.
- Women who go on trips more frequently are less likely to become tense, depressed or tired and are happier with their marriages.
- Vacationing improves your mood and reduces stress. It also can temporarily help boost productivity.
- People who travel more frequently are more satisfied with their physical health and well-being.
- Vacationing can increase creativity.
Yet, despite all of these benefits, Americans are not taking full advantage. According to the 2018 State of American Vacation survey from the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off, 52 percent of Americans had unused vacation days at the end of 2017. The average worker uses only eight of his or her 17.2 vacation days for travel, the study says.
To inspire people to use every one of those vacation days, we are partnering with Oz on an Instagram campaign, #TravelisHealthy. We’re tagging along on his summer trips to discover the healthy habits of other cultures and why traveling is good for you.
Follow along as Oz sets sail for Sardinia. The second-largest island in the Mediterranean (Sicily is No. 1), Sardinia is surrounded by waters ranging in hues from turquoise to dark blue, has its own UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to some of the healthiest people in the world. See what Oz found here.