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6 reasons why holidays are good for your health

Posted on October 16, 2023 by Dr Stephanie Ooi
an image of a smiling couple walking two bicycles along the beach

Travelling can be great for your physical and mental health, and there’s science to prove it.

Whether it’s your style to go on an action-packed adventure, or you’d prefer to rest and recuperate by the pool, a holiday can be a really valuable part of your healthy lifestyle.

Keep reading to learn more about why taking a holiday is important to your well-being!

1. Being more active

It feels much easier to get in your 10,000 steps each day on holiday than at home. When you’re taking in all of the picturesque scenery, you might find you end up walking most of the day. Visiting museums and local points of interest, or just enjoying exploring a new place is a great way to get your daily step count up. 

You may also find yourself doing activities such as swimming, hiking or even trying a new sport like paddleboarding*. It can also feel much less like exercise and more like fun when you are on holiday. It is an added bonus that it is good for our physical health!

2. Recharging your batteries

Going on holiday gives you plenty of opportunities to recharge your batteries and get away from it all. Our recent survey showed that one of the main reasons we love to travel is so we can relax on holiday. Even planning the trip itself can boost happiness and give you something to look forward to!

Being away from your usual day to day pressures means stress levels reduce. Relaxation drops your blood pressure and reduces the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in your blood. So, spend as much time by the pool as you like! 

The downtime you get on holiday is also great for giving your mind some respite. The key is to spend quality time doing whatever it is that helps you decompress.

Sleep is another thing many of us don’t get enough of. A holiday usually gives you more time to sleep and rest. Taking the chance to enjoy quality rest and be present with those around you can do wonders for your physical and mental health.


an image a mother and child swimming in the pool on holiday




3. Expanding the mind

Whether you take a city break, or a trip to the country, there’s plenty of new scenery to enjoy when you’re on holiday.

Meeting new people, experiencing a new culture and adapting to new situations can stimulate and engage the mind. Not only is this really helpful for your mental health but also beneficial for our own sense of creativity and wellbeing.

4. Embracing the elements

For many of us, a change in the weather is reason enough to go on holiday!

But, thankfully, science is there to justify spending time in the sun (in moderation, of course). A healthy amount of sunshine gives your body a boost of vitamin D, which can promote strong bones and a more effective immune system and boost energy levels. 

Of course it is important to ensure you stay well protected in the sun. Wear a high SPF sunscreen (it is a myth that sunscreen blocks vitamin D production) and avoid the sun when it is strongest from 11am – 3pm.

Older couple on holiday having fun in the sea with colourful inflatable rings




5. A chance to reset

A holiday can give you a good chance to reset. You may have noticed that you have developed some bad habits over time. It can feel overwhelming to try and rectify them but a holiday can provide us with the break and time to reassess our current situation.

If you sit at a desk for a living, a break from work, from the eye strain caused by your computer and the uncomfortable posture of your desk, is an excellent chance for your body to reset and recover.

6. Holidays are good for mental health

It’s become clear that holidays are hugely beneficial for our mental health.

There really is no better time to spend doing the things you love than being on holiday, either by yourself or with loved ones. Family holidays can help to reconnect and strengthen bonds. Alone time and solo travel can also be incredibly healing and provide an escape from a busy schedule. It’s a great time to enrich your mind, reset and focus on your mental wellbeing.  

A smooth holiday-going experience

Whether you’ve booked a holiday abroad or are planning on enjoying a staycation in the UK, it’s safe to say that travel is good for your health.

Another way to help keep those cortisol levels low is to take out medical travel insurance. It can help give you the peace of mind to enjoy your holiday and all the health benefits it brings.

* Policy limits apply – please refer to your policy documents for full details of sports and activity exclusions.

by Dr Stephanie Ooi

Dr Stephanie Ooi is a London based GP working at MyHealthcare Clinic. She is also a content creator (@the_gp_mum) on Instagram and co-host of The Medic Mum Podcast.