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Travel is the best medicine, study finds

December 17, 2013|By Chris Erskine
  • Why travel? Browsing shops like these in London may have health benefits.
Why travel? Browsing shops like these in London may have health benefits. (Dan Dennison / Getty Images )

Traveling keeps you young. Or at least healthier.

That’s the finding of a new study linking travel to decreased risks of heart attack and depression and even the promotion of brain health. 

The Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Assn., has released research that shows travel offers the same sort of physical and cognitive benefits as crossword puzzles or museum visits.

According to the study:

  • Women who vacationed every six years or less had a significantly higher risk of developing a heart attack or coronary death compared with women who vacationed at least twice a year.
  • Men who did not take an annual vacation were shown to have a 20% higher risk of death and about a 30% greater risk of death from heart disease.
  • Benefits of travel are almost immediate. After only a day or two, 89% of respondents saw significant drops in stress.

The study also noted that 59% of Americans dream of traveling during their retirement, and that the most impactful trips are those spent with family and friends.

And, yes, researchers did account for factors such as income levels and preexisting poor health.

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