We all have plenty of reasons to travel: adventure, relaxation, education.
How about longevity?
Taking trips is part of a healthy lifestyle – especially for seniors, says Dr. David Lipschitz.
The University of Arkansas geriatrician and author says travel helps people in several ways, some of them surprising.
He also foresees a travel revolution in coming years as baby boomers retire in record numbers and hit the road.
One reason people should travel is that it will help them live longer, he explains.
A key factor for longevity is having an intimate relationship, and one of the best ways to keep it alive is traveling together.
“Traveling will re-energize a relationship,” he says, noting that sex and travel often go together.
Platonic love is just as valuable, and that can deepen during a trip, too.
“Love is one thing that is needed for long life, and traveling will fuel it.”
Married men, he notes, live an average 10 years longer than unmarried ones. For women, the average payoff is an extra three years.
Partners can find time to enjoy each other’s company away from daily pressures at home. “Traveling to spend time alone together will not only broaden your horizons but make you a healthier person.”
Another plus is that travel gives you something to anticipate and plan for.
“Staying occupied and involved has a lot to do with being independent. You have to have something to do each and every day,” he says.
(He gives more tips on his Web site: www.drdavidhealth.com.)
Travel will not be a hard sell for the new generation of seniors.
Dr. Lipschitz, 61, who has been called the Dr. Phil of Aging, says travel will change in the coming years as the number of seniors skyrockets. And they won’t just be on tour buses.
“We’re going to go to Costa Rica, and we’re going to go biking and hiking. I’m going to look old, but that’s what I want to do.”
He says many of the 77 million boomers will find themselves with spare time and spare cash, as they begin to retire and inherit money from their parents.
“I don’t think anyone’s prepared,” he said,
Older seniors will be more noticeable, too. He says that the number of people 85 and older will double in the next 10 years. And at least half of them will be living – and traveling – independently.
All these new seniors will force the travel industry to change.
Seniors will demand more healthful dining choices. (Although, they can feel free to indulge a little: Dr. Lipschitz says diet itself is overrated as a factor for longevity.)
These seniors will also want a chance to be active while they travel. That, too, can help longevity because exercise is another important factor. And senior travelers will want to make their own plans, not follow a strict itinerary.
Baby boomers have always done what they want, and they’re not about to change, he says. “This is the most traveled generation in history.”
Many have been to Europe many times. Now, he says, “they’ll be looking at Mongolia.”
TIPS FOR A LONG LIFE
Happiness is the key to successful aging. Travel can contribute to many of the factors that make for a long life:
A purpose. Stay occupied and involved.
High self-esteem. Feel good about yourself and see the inner beauty in those around you.
Faith and the capacity to forgive.
Learn to control stress.
Eating right, but not dieting. Moderate overweight is not a major risk factor for disease.
Exercise – the more the better. Both aerobic and resistance training are important.
Regular medical checkups. Become an educated consumer of healthcare.
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