Scientists explain why travel is good for health

Ученые объяснили, почему путешествия полезны для здоровья

Avid travelers notice how hard the brain starts to work during trips into unknown territory.

Write about the Frontiers of health.

And this, from the point of view of neuroscientists, true. To vitalize the brain to make new synaptic connections and pump emotional awareness, scientists strongly recommend as often as possible to immerse themselves in an unfamiliar environment.

What is dangerous for the brain routine

For centuries now, experts warn the main enemy of the brain – the automatism. Daily performing the same actions, following the same routes, choosing the monotonous entertainment, we save brain energy and run at the neural level mode “Groundhog day”. To simplify your work, the brain creates for routine tasks engrams – ready “templates,” which represent a physical habit or memory traces left by repeated action of the stimulus.

The constant use of the same n-gram makes the “freebies” the basal ganglia, which are responsible for the production of acetylcholine, a potent regulator of higher functions, ensuring our mental and intellectual flexibility. As a result, the brain becomes lazy and bother only the minimum requests of its owner.

New synaptic connections

When we find ourselves in an unfamiliar environment filled with new sounds, smells, tastes and sensations, our synapses connecting neurons and serve to filter useless information from the outside, begin to form new connections. The more intense the experience we are experiencing, the more synaptic connections formed in the brain and the bigger our view of the world.

However, for the long-term effect of one change is not enough, clarify the scientists. So the brain is constantly forming new synaptic connections needed to transform a novelty into an inexhaustible source of inspiration that involves both learning something new (e.g., foreign language), and a pleasant emotional shock. In other words, to do time travel as rich with new knowledge and events.

Original ideas

In addition to the physiological benefits, introduction to a foreign culture increases cognitive flexibility (the ability to switch between ideas) and active generate original ideas for solutions to pressing problems.

The development of emotional intelligence

To understand the complicated scheme of urban transport, to cope with the blow of fate in the form of a sharp rise of the currency and funneling through the fingers of the budget, make a list of places and activities for the next week – even these small challenges during the trip, taught us independence and self-control. And self-control, according to the theory of American psychologist Daniel Golman, helps to develop the ability to recognize their own and others emotions and learn emotional flexibility.


According to scientists, women who rest less than once in two years, are more likely to suffer depression, more prone to stress than those who are satisfied with a vacation at least twice a year. So, if you can’t take a long vacation, the scientists recommended to do “reboot the system” of the brain at least with short-term travel. For example, you can go for the weekend in a new city. This will not only make you feel more relaxed and happy, but also enhance the efficiency of the brain.

Reducing anxiety

The acquaintance with the peculiarities of living in different countries lowers the overall level of anxiety regarding the terrible and absurd events about which we read daily in the news. Coming into contact with a foreign culture and meeting people of other nationalities, we begin to notice that they behave towards us in a similar way. This increases the level of confidence to the world.

Personality change

When the main task of the brain becomes adapted to the new conditions, it is no longer fixate on prejudices in relation to the boundaries of “I”. In result it becomes easier to change and understand yourself. Understand their advantages and disadvantages, develop intuition for important decisions.

Recall, the Russian traveler Fyodor Konyukhov went round the world trip on a rowing boat ACROS.