A new study by researchers from University College London’s Centre for Transport Studies reveals that individuals who travel tend to have better health.
What did the study entail?
Whether it’s driving to your state’s impeccable beach or taking a flight to Switzerland, traveling is always exciting and adventurous. The research, published in the Journal of Transport & Health, found that there was a difference in overall health of those who travel and those who do not.
Individuals who were limited to get out of their hometown, or even had limited exposure to traveling than they preferred, had inferior health. The research team set traveling as getting outside at least 15 miles away from one’s local region. They gathered 2,747 individuals from the North of England and studied their overall health and relationship with traveling.
The particular region of England is known for having one of nation’s worst health results, reason being its lack of sufficient transportation system.
During the research, participants were given five questions regarding traveling:
- "I travel beyond my local area less often than I would ideally like to"
- "I travel to fewer places (e.g., cities or towns outside my local area) than I would ideally like to"
- "I travel to places that are nearer than the ones I would ideally like to go"
- "I travel by public transport to places I would ideally like to go by car"
- "I travel by car to places I would ideally like to go by public transport"
They were then asked to answer these five questions from a scale of one to five.
What did the survey find?
From the survey, researchers found that those who had the luxury to travel outside of their local region, meaning at least 15 miles from home, and those who did it often, overall reported having better health.
The correlation between traveling and health became stronger in those aged 55 years or older. Dr. Paulo Anciaes, the lead author of the study, said prior research confirmed how travel can benefit individuals due to an increase in more opportunities, such as career benefits or educational advantages.
Anciaes and his team claimed those who had limited traveling opportunities had poorer health, due to a lack of social interaction and ability to explore. Habitual travel wasn’t directly related to one’s health, but more associated with not having the opportunity to participate in social interactions. Social interaction was directly linked with one’s overall health and satisfaction.
According to South University, social interactions are beneficial as it supports both emotional and physical wellbeing.
Social interaction is crucial to humans, as it creates a community for us to participate in and build relationships. Some ways to build social relationships can include volunteering at a local community, joining a group, or even utilizing technology to stay connected with friends and family.
- Transport Studies Constraints to travel outside the local area: Effect on social participation and self-rated health
- South University Why Being Social is Good for You