Independence Day isn’t the only reason to celebrate this July — you’re officially halfway done with the 2019 Heart-Health Bucket List Challenge! You’ve spent the last six months focusing and working on your heart health. Now, it’s time to celebrate AND check off another month’s item by taking a trip.
Why should I take a trip?
Traveling has been linked to aging well. In fact, many elderly individuals, like June Scott of Northwestern University’s SuperAging study, cite travel as the reason why their brains seem to be resistant to the detrimental memory changes associated with aging . Neurogenesis, the formation of new neurons, is driven, in part, by new and novel experiences. And those new experiences are exactly what traveling can provide.
How is travel good for me?
Travel isn’t just good for the soul; it’s good for the brain and heart too. Stress is terrible for the aging mind, as chronic stress is considered a risk factor for cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease . Taking a vacation, on the other hand, can drastically lower stress levels, which can help prevent your risk of depression, heart disease, and other medical conditions.
Other ways traveling can promote healthy aging include:
- It keeps you moving and active
- Traveling gets you out of the house and socializing, helping to combat the depression and isolation that is all-too-common among seniors.
- A fun, relaxing vacation can also improve your mood and make you happier, which offers even more health benefits .
We’re sharing different ways you can check off this month’s bucket list item by going somewhere you haven’t been before:
Take a family trip
One way to visit a new place is to take a family trip! Chances are, if you let the kids (or grandkids) decide, you’ll end up going somewhere you’ve never been before. Whether you take your family to a theme park or a national park, you’re sure to get plenty of heart-healthy exercise and make countless memories. Plus, taking a family vacation is a great way to stay connected with your family, which is especially important as we age.
Treat yourself to a “staycation”
If traveling across the country (or the ocean) isn’t realistic for you, whether for health, financial, or logistical reasons, then a staycation could be just the thing to do this month. A staycation is exactly what it sounds like; a vacation that’s close to home and doesn’t involve travel.
Staycations are great because they offer the opportunity to explore different parts of your city that you haven’t seen before. Plus, you’ll benefit from the exercise you get walking around and the destressing benefits vacations provide. You can spend the night at a nice hotel, at a spa, a bed and breakfast, or even in the comfort of your own bed. It’s your vacation after all. All that matters is you give yourself time to relax, rest, and recharge, and have fun while you’re doing it.
Go on your dream trip
What better way to accomplish a heart-health bucket list item than by checking something off your actual bucket list? Turn someday into today by taking the destination vacation you’ve always dreamed of. Doing so can improve happiness, confidence, and overall satisfaction with life.
You could bring family or friends along for the ride or even travel through a tour company or senior travel group. When you take a chartered trip or work with a travel agent, all of the planning and booking is done for you, so you’ll be able to enjoy a fun, stress-free vacation.
Looking for more ways to live an active, heart-healthy lifestyle as you get older? Check out more heart-health articles just like this one!