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5 Health Benefits of the Adventure Travel Lifestyle

6 min read

Vacationing can have a profound effect on your physical and mental health and well-being – it’s why we look forward to that time away! There are different types of vacations, though, and adventure tourism is growing in popularity for all the benefits it brings.


The kind of vacation where you sit at a cottage or resort for a couple of weeks while eating and drinking may be right inside your comfort zone. But even though that vacation can leave you rested and refreshed, you return otherwise unchanged; back to the daily grind at work, it’s as if you were never away at all.

The typical adventure traveler is looking for something more. Adventure trips have a dramatically different impact than beach vacations.

Unlike traditional vacations, adventure travel defies expectations of what a vacation must be.

Some of the benefits of adventure travel vacations include invigorating physical exertion, building self confidence, and experiencing new cultures and breathtaking landscapes that would be otherwise inaccessible.

Adventure travel broadens your horizons while working wonders for your mental and physical health.

You’ll return rested and refreshed, of course, but getting outside of your comfort zone and doing something positive and healthy can have long-lasting physical and mental rewards.

Here are 10 health benefits of adventure travel:

1. You’ll Feel Better When You Get Moving

Too often, physical activity is the last thing we make time for in our busy daily lives, and the health effects can be dramatic.

Weight gain, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, insomnia – the effects of a sedentary lifestyle are widely documented. Sure you could hit the yoga mat, gym, or golf course, but wouldn't it be more fun to get your exercise while sailing and soaring through the Alpine Arctic and witnessing some of the planet's awe inspiring landscapes?

The physical benefits of traveling are well known, and you won’t spend much time sitting still when you take an expedition to the Arctic or Antarctica!

Kayaking in the Arctic
Kayaking in the Arctic

Hiking, kayaking and even strolling along an Antarctic beach to visit a penguin colony or exploring an abandoned scientific station in the Arctic will kick-start the process of change.

2. You Might Even Fight Some Signs of Aging

You’ll begin feeling muscles you haven’t felt in years, and you’ll quickly start feeling good – possibly even better than you have in ages.

A recent U.S. study found that the physical aspects of adventure travel can actually help grow your hippocampus, reducing the risk for memory loss and dementia.

3. Your Brain Will Work Better

The mental boost you get from an adventure trip can be even more significant than the physical one.

Visiting Antarctica and seeing the last pristine wilderness in the world can profoundly affect your perspective – with time to pause and reflect, your everyday problems may seem insignificant compared with the bigger picture.

Being exposed to the new situations and cultures that travel brings about can also reboot your brain in ways you never thought possible. The daily cares that dominate your thoughts and sap your energy at home hold no sway when you’re watching whales from a kayak!

4. Adventure Traveling Will Also Help Your Body Function

With a steady supply of fresh air, your physical health will also react positively. You’ll have more energy, and your brain, which requires 20 percent of the oxygen you need, will function better.

It’s not just the air that makes a difference: in 2008, U.S. researchers found that spending time in a natural environment actually improves your focus and attention.

5. You’ll Strengthen Your Immune System

Spending time outdoors makes us feel good about ourselves and others, but another one of the health benefits of traveling is an improved immune system.

According to a recent Japanese study, a 1-day trip to a suburban park can boost immune activity for a week. Another Japanese study, published in 2010, found that short, leisurely trips to a wilderness area boosted the immune system for more than 30 days. 

6. You’ll Improve Your Mood

Travel makes people happier, and happy people have levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, that are 23 percent lower than those of unhappy people. That means adventure travel is the perfect antidote for a high stress job!

A 2001 study conducted by researchers in the U.S. and Turkey found that when compared with their unhappy counterparts, happier people became healthier over the course of the study.

Passenger overlooking cliff
Photo Courtesy: Sam Crimmin

As the problems of everyday life recede during your Antarctic expedition, you’ll become more and more relaxed. Having less stress and tension clears the way for other experiences and thoughts, and your perspective on everything may start changing for the better.

The slowed down life of the natural world is as grounding as it is exciting, and is one of the key benefits of adventure travel.

7. You'll Forge New Friendships with Like-Minded Adventure Travelers

You'll also find a true adventure community in your guide and supportive group of fellow travelers. Adventure travel attracts people who are ready to step outside their comfort zones and experience the world.

8. Your Sleep Will Improve

Your mother told you this as a child and it’s still true today: if you get enough fresh air and exercise, you’ll sleep better. Sleep is important to physical and mental health, and when you travel with Quark Expeditions®, there are more than enough activities to keep you busy.

9. You'll See Stunning Flora and Fauna Up Close on an Adventure Trip

Many of our expeditions include the opportunity to experience wildlife and scenery on one of our amazing hiking adventures or from the intimate perspective a kayak offers.

exploring hike greenland

Hiking can bring you face to face with inquisitive penguins or playful seals. Camping is available on our Antarctic cruises, and as you’ll see from this video, you may not be alone on the 7th continent.

10. Adventure Tourism Leads to New Experiences and New Skills

Snowshoeing is another option, and if you’re looking for something to do on your adventure travel trip that no one at home will believe, join your fellow passengers in a polar plunge and come home with some exciting and interesting stories!

With so much to do during the day, it’s easy to return to “real life” refreshed, rejuvenated and healthier for the experience.

Plan Your Next Epic Adventure Travel Tour

Take your first step toward a healthier, happier you. Check out the options for package tour travel in the Arctic and Antarctic in the new Quark brochure.

You can also download a Destination Guide for Antarctica, Baffin Island, Greenland, Spitsbergen or the North Pole to really dig into the incredible things to do, see and experience on your polar expedition.

Then, join your fellow global adventure travelers on an epic excursion beyond your day to day life.

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