Discover 12 great reasons rail travel is good for your health & well-being. From keeping fit to making new friends, isn’t it time you booked a train journey?
The power of daydreaming
Yes, you can read a book, fire up your laptop or listen to music. But for a great mental health kick, just sit back, relax and look out of the window. In our busy modern lives, we never take time to do nothing and sitting looking out a train window is the perfect way to relax.
One of the best things about travelling by train is that you get to see nature in its full glory. Being connected with the natural world helps with our well-being. So book a trip on the Bernina Express (above), Jacobite Steam Train or the Bluebell Railway for a nature boost.
A chance to slow down
Not all travel has to be fast. In our hectic worlds, a slow train journey is a great way to relax. So if you’ve got the time, take the slow train. This is a great example of how rail travel is good for your health and well-being.
A chance to make new friends
What is it about trains that encourage people to strike up a conversation with total strangers? We think it’s because you’re on a journey to the same destination so you’ve instantly got something in common. That, or the fact that you want to know where they bought their sandwiches! Sleeper trains where a visit to the bar is essential are even better for making new friends. So check out the Caledonian Sleeper and the Nightjet trains.
Less stress = a happier brain
Unlike flying where you have to get to the airport, endure customs and a long walk to your plane, travelling by train is relatively simple. You just turn up for your train, get on board, stash your luggage and that’s it. And less stress means that you’ll be happier straight away. No wonder lines like Eurostar and SNCF are so popular.
Breathe in the clean air
Many of the most popular train journeys like the Rocky Mountaineer and New Zealand’s TranzAlpine (above) give you the chance to breathe in fresh mountain air as they journey through some incredible landscapes with views of mountain ranges, waterfalls, and snow-capped glaciers.
Being happy that you’re saving the planet
Backed by Greta Thunberg, Flygskam, Sweden’s flight-shaming movement is gaining momentum. The idea is to ask yourself ‘is it possible for me to not make this journey by air?’. If the answer is yes and you choose to travel by train, you will help save the planet. In fact, taking a train instead of flying can cut your CO2 emissions by 90%.
It will make you fitter
Check out your fitness monitor next time you take a train journey. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how many steps you’ve clocked up just finding your seat! Add to that the steps you’ll be taking to get to the station and the effort of stashing your luggage and you’ll realise you don’t need the gym. Even better, a long stroll and back to the buffet bar will help you stay fit.
The perfect place to meditate
If you find yourself on an empty train, close your eyes for 10 minutes and meditate. The rocking motion of the train will help free your mind and it’s a great way to declutter your thoughts.
It makes you more tolerant
Stuck on a busy train station like India’s Howrah Junction (above) or New York’s Grand Central Station? Yes, finding your platform might be hard but the sheer joy of seeing a world outside your own is exhilarating. And travelling alongside the locals will make you a more tolerant person.
You can choose what you eat
Some trains like the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and Sweden’s SJ lines have great food on board but not every line is of their standard. So act like a local and buy some healthy food before you get on board. Your body will thank you for it.
It gives you self-confidence
If you travel by train, you’re going to need to map out your journey and sort out your tickets. And if you’re abroad you may well have to master the local language. Travel takes you out of your comfort zone, and you will have to learn to adapt to change and uncertainty. All this will build your self-confidence, which in turn leads to better mental health.