Writing about the bene;ts of relocating for a magazine whose tagline is “Find Your Ideal… Destination, Life, Home” does seem a little suspicious and self-serving.
But, having had five moves involving three di;erent
states, and knowing those moves were positive
experiences for me, I wondered what the literature says
about moving. Is (voluntary) relocation good for your
health? I decided to take a look and share my findings.
The bottom line is it can indeed be a very good thing, for
a variety of reasons.
Sharper Brain. With each of my moves, I enthusiastically explored my surroundings, sampling new restaurants, shops, parks, museums, local theater, and volunteer
options, and embraced the challenges of fresh career opportunities. I’m not saying every step was easy, but relocating forces you o; auto-pilot and out of your comfort
zone. Research shows that novel situations enhance memory, and may even trigger the growth of new brain cells.
Move Your Body More. Our environment shapes our
behavior. A location with nicer weather invites us to be
outside and be more active than a rainy or cold-weather
environment. Having lived in Maryland, Ohio, and New
Jersey, I find that now (in sunny Florida), I’m outside a
LOT: the ocean, walking paths, tennis courts, and my
bike make exercising easier and enjoyable year-round.
Friends. Relocating can facilitate new friendships,
introducing you to unexpected and fresh perspectives.
Those who decide to age in place may have established
a good network, but over time find their support group
may move away: job transfers, friends, and neighbors
who no longer want to live in a cold-weather climate,
children who moved away because of career choices,
divorce, death, etc. According to research, feeling lonely
is equivalent to the risk of smoking up to 15 cigarettes
a day. With social media (and cars and airplanes), it’s
easy to stay in touch and visit with friends from former
locations. Or, bring your “posse” with you! Two friends
from my previous location live in my current community.
Adult Children/Grandchildren. Let’s acknowledge
that, for many people, moving away from children/
grandchildren can be di;cult. I have three wonderful,
independent, married, working children with fabulous
spouses who live in three di;erent cities in two
di;erent states, and three young grandchildren (the
grandchildren were born after our last relocation). We
visit our children/grandchildren several times a year
(and they love coming to Florida for some R&R). We are
delighted to stay with our grandchildren if the parents
want to travel (escape?) as a couple, we get together for
major holidays, and when we’re with our adult children,
they can go out to dinner and have “couple” time. The
family thing (should we stay or go) is a tough decision
for many people, but it works well for us. We know,
should there be an emergency, that they are only a flight
away. However, if/when we are in our “third act” and
are no longer independent, we may move closer to them
(just for oversight, not to move in with them!).
Benefits of sunlight. Voluntary migration patterns
are often from cold weather states to those with warmer
temperatures. Although the negative e;ects of too much
sun is what we generally hear about (wrinkles, cataracts,
and skin cancer), our planet’s almost perfect, glowing
Healthy Living | Relocation Benefits
by Jan Cullinane