Schools are finishing up for the year, the weather is getting nicer and people across the globe will be packing their bags and hitting the road. The glimmering hope of vacation pulled us through the bad weather, the stress and the doldrums of the previous months. We all need time to relax and decompress from our daily lives. It’s pretty obvious that vacation can be good for your overall health. However, you may not realize that traveling is very beneficial to your brain. We talk a lot at Marbles about three things that are extremely important for maintaining your cognitive health-Novelty, Variety and Complexity. Travel is a perfect vehicle to incorporate all of these.
6 Reasons Why Travel is Good for Your Brain:
1. Change of routine. When we change our daily routine, we stimulate our brain in new ways. According to neurobiologist Lawrence Katz, when we present the brain with non-routine activities that incorporate our physical senses, we promote the growth of new neural pathways and the creation of neurotrophins. Neurotrophins are brain nutrients that make neural cells stronger and more resistant to the effects of aging (Keep Your Brain Alive).
2. Maps. When we travel to new places, we almost always use maps to find our way around. Maps are a great workout for our visual-spatial skills and our memory.
3. Language. If you travel to a foreign country, you have to be able to communicate in another language even if it’s rudimentary. Learning new language and then speaking it works both hemispheres of the brain.
4. Museums and historical attractions. Sightseeing agendas almost always include these, and they are full of fascinating information to see, hear and touch. Learning new information, as well as recalling facts we may already know about a place or historical event, gives our memory a workout.
5. Walking. Exercise is great for the brain and most people are more physically active on vacation than they are normally.
6. Less time in front of the television. Down-time and time spent getting to and from your destination is often filled with reading, doing puzzles or playing games with your travel companions. These are all great ways to strengthen your cognitive skills. We have lots of fun and challenging travel games and puzzle books. Some of our fellow travelers enjoy Scrabble Slam, Kwizniac, Spot it and Mini Quarto.