Ep. 175 – Travel Locally

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Good morning and welcome to the Train Your Brain Podcast episode 175! Dr. Trayford shares a tip today that can help you plan a few invigorating activities for this upcoming spring season. He promotes getting out and enjoying the local activities that your area has to offer. It is stimulating for the brain and it can be done inexpensively. Have a wonderful day and thanks for listening!

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Do you get to travel locally or go on stay-cations?

Jason: Occasionally we do. Utah is a very beautiful place and we like to get around every once in a while.

It’s great that you do that. A lot of folks get trapped in their environment and you really want to try to break the mold and get some novel stimulation. It’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut going to all the same places, like work, school, the office, the gym or even just going to the same restaurant and ordering the same thing every time.

Even though you might enjoy these routines, there’s very little novelty and you don’t get a lot of stimulation.

Getting out to somewhere nearby, where you can enjoy nature, unplug, reflect and absorb new experiences not only helps to relieve stress, but also stimulates the brain and creates new connections. Even if it’s just a day trip, you’re changing your environment and often for the better.

There are all kinds of indications about how travel changes the brain. Someone who is well traveled is generally adaptable and a little richer in their conversations with others as a result of their experiences.

There was a study published in the journal of environmental psychology. The title was “Fifty Second Green Roof Views, Sustain Attention and the Role of Micro-Breaks in Attention.”

What that means is that if you go out in nature your focus and performance improves. In this case they had people look at a nature photo with a lot of green in it for 40-seconds. What happened was the mental performance on the following task improved.

You can imagine the impact that has on someone living in a city-center.

There are psychological benefits as well. Traveling on any level helps you become less fearful of things. People get used to a routine and they don’t like changes in their schedule, so they opt to stay home. That can actually be damaging long term. Because we know with dementia, you need new stimulation and experiences to help the brain work better.

Then there’s just the value of breaking your routine. When you do the same thing day after day your brain starts to go on auto-pilot. Just like if you drive the same way to work each day, you’re missing out on a lot of possible stimulation.

So let’s get out, travel locally and support new experiences and local attractions.

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