Home Mental Health & Well-Being 1 in 4 Brits Turn to Adventure Travel for Mental Well-Being Boost, Study Finds

1 in 4 Brits Turn to Adventure Travel for Mental Well-Being Boost, Study Finds

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Icelandair, Iceland’s flagship airline offering transatlantic flights, has conducted a study exploring an exciting new trend among UK holidaymakers.

The research reveals that nearly half Brits prefer holidays with outdoor pursuits and adventurous activities. But why is this trend on the rise? 

The survey, involving 2,000 UK holidaymakers, delves into the reasons behind this growing appetite for thrilling travel experiences and uncovered adventurous pursuits’ mental and physical benefits. 

43% of UK travellers favour holidays with outdoor pursuits and adventure activities

Two in five UK holidaymakers prioritise adventure and outdoor activities when planning their trips, showing a significant shift towards adventure travel.

Breaking down the data further, 25% of UK travellers favour holiday itineraries that balance relaxation with moderate to extreme activities, while almost one in five (18%) prefer more high-octane getaways that centre around outdoor activities like wild swimming and scuba diving.

Two in five UK travellers say adventure travel makes them more confident

To understand the reasons behind these growing holiday trends, Icelandair asked holidaymakers what they believed to be the benefits behind their thrill-seeking abroad. 

According to the survey, greater confidence is the biggest benefit of participating in adventure activities on holiday (43%). Next is a sense of accomplishment (42%), followed by improved mental health (35%).

The survey also found that over a quarter of UK participants (27%) said that engaging in adventure activities abroad allowed them to challenge how they see themselves, and 26% disclosed feeling less stressed.

UK women found outdoor and adventure activities particularly beneficial for their mental health.

Since 59% of women and 40% of men prioritise self-care and well-being in their day-to-day lives, outdoor activities’ mental and physical health benefits make adventure holidays ideal for wellness-minded travellers. 

Doctor reveals the health benefits of adventure travel 

Dr Deborah Lee, a leading mental health expert, revealed why adventure travel is important for mental and physical well-being: “There’s no doubt that holidays have physical and mental health benefits. Many studies have shown that being away from it all, getting rid of stress and being able to relax lowers blood pressure and improves cardiac function. But an adventure holiday will have additional physical and mental health benefits. 

“The more active the adventure, the better the physical benefits from weight loss to increased oxygen in the bloodstream. However, just being outdoors is known to lower your heart rate and blood pressure showing how impactful the natural world can be. 

“About your mental health, the hectic pace of modern life is responsible for much of the huge stress we all face today. Even though going on an adventure holiday can come with its own stress, this “controlled stress” can hugely benefit your mental state. 

“Mastering a new skill, whether rock climbing or rafting and overcoming the physical boundaries you set yourself in daily life comes with an immense sense of achievement, making it no surprise that adventure holidays boost Brit’s confidence.

“Being at one with nature and one with your body is a great way to feel stimulated, disconnected from the fast-past world of modern life and improve mindfulness. 

“When visiting countries renowned for their outdoors, like Iceland, there will be no end to the different adventure activities on offer – Snowmobiling, ice climbing, glacier hiking and skiing – are all on the list! And when you’ve mastered the challenge, why not have an outdoor soak in one of Iceland’s geothermal pools to relieve tension from the body and mind.” 

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