Every day, the world gets older. According to population estimates, by 2050, adults over 65 will double the number of children under five. This proportion is unprecedented. Never, in world history, had the ranks of the 65 and older group even outnumbered the toddlers.
With this fast-changing reality, the impetus is put on us even more to figure out how to age in ways that make us happy and healthy. As it turns out, one of the best ways to do this? Take a break. Here are three ways vacationing is the secret to aging gracefully.
1. Vacationing is good for your heart.
According to the Framingham Heart Study, those who vacation regularly are at a significantly less risk for heart disease. Even more important, regular vacationers are 21 percent less likely to die early from any cause. The reasons for this are fairly intuitive: vacationing decreases stress, and stress is bad for our cardiovascular system. And as the Global Coalition on Aging points out, stress is itself bad for the aging process.
“Stress…weakens the immune system and has been shown to increase one’s chances of suffering from maladies such as adrenal dysfunction, headaches and irritable bowel syndrome,” this instructive article reads.
2. It’s good for your brain, too.
Vacationing often comes with exciting, new experiences. Whether you’re traveling the world or simply taking the time to finally pull the weeds in your garden, the beauty of exploration is a luxury provided by a prolonged break. Scientists say this kind of growth becomes even more vital as you age. Brain growth is just another way vacationing helps us fight father time. An active mind is a healthy mind.
3. Vacationing strengthens bonds.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily churn of life. When we dedicate ourselves to our work or our hobbies, it can be all too easy to take for granted those we love. Vacationing is so valuable because it helps us carve out extended chunks of time to spend with the people we care about most. In this way, vacations are good for the soul. Indeed, our relationships become even more important as we age. As the CGA article so eloquently puts it, “multigenerational travel benefits grandchildren as well as grandparents, who cite valuing the opportunity to travel with their grandchildren to help them feel and stay more youthful.”
Vacationing is not something everybody can afford to do. It is indeed a privilege. For those of us who can, we must seize it. If we do, we might just get to savor that little slice of life that’s growing longer by the year.
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.