Aging can be a wonderful time in someone’s life. You have more wisdom and experience to offer, and you’re probably more content with who you are. However, this stage of life still comes with its share of disadvantages and difficulties, such as the increased effort it takes to travel. Yet, don’t let this stop you from traveling! Here are the top benefits of traveling as a senior citizen.
Cognitive Health Benefits
Your cognitive health is one of the major things that suffer from aging.
The negative effects of aging on the cognitive functions of the brain include a decline in mental processing, declines in visual and spatial abilities, and a decrease in the overall speed of thinking.
With traveling, you can offset some of these declines. Recent studies have shown a link between travel and improved cognitive function.
By leaving the familiarity of an assisted living facility or the comfort of home to experience new things on a journey, the brain is stimulated because it is required to access the new location, causing it to produce new dendrites. Dendrites are brain stems that facilitate the transmission of information among different parts of the brain. Thus, the more functioning dendrites there are the better your brain can perform these functions which translates to improved cognitive functions like memory retention.
Physical Health Benefits
Not only does travel offer cognitive health benefits, but it also offers physical health benefits.
The physical signs of aging are well documented; loss of gait, balance, and speed. Everyday activities like climbing the stairs, running, walking long distances, moving objects, and even standing up, become a challenge.
New studies show that this is another thing that traveling can solve. By traveling as a senior, you can offset some of these declines.
Traveling gets you up and moving. Even if you’re not doing a lot of strenuous hiking or walking, you’ll still be introduced to a myriad of physically engaging activities that keep you on your feet for long periods. Slow dancing with a spouse, children, or grandchildren on a beach in Bali for example.
Some specific physical benefits of traveling include:
- Better balance: traveling means activities that strengthen your core and leg muscles, increasing balance and stability.
- Less susceptible to injury: increased physical activity from travel strengthens muscles that result in a chain reaction that includes a boosted immune system.
- Improved cardiovascular health: activities when traveling are a great way to get your heart rate up and improve your cardiovascular health.
Emotional Health Benefits
One of the brutal realities of age is losing loved ones. That’s not all. Feelings of loneliness and isolation, mourning the loss of youth, and despair from spotting the signs of early mental decline, are common in older adults. These negative emotions often lead to a decrease in overall mental health.
Thankfully, traveling can help seniors combat these negative effects. A review of research on the emotional health benefits of travel reveals that seniors who travel experience reduced anxiety and depression, and increased self-esteem and life satisfaction.
In particular, traveling to unfamiliar destinations provided the greatest benefits. This may be because it allows seniors to experience new cultures and challenges, which can promote feelings of mastery and independence.
There are many important benefits of traveling as a senior citizen. There are few things you can do that’ll benefit you as much physically, cognitively, and emotionally. So don’t let your age stop you from exploring the world and experiencing all that it has to offer!