Chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity and arthritis are among the most preventable of all health problems yet these conditions are skyrocketing across Canada. “There are two factors contributing to this,” says Gareth Jones PhD, Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. “One factor is that our lifestyles are more sedentary now and the second is that our population is aging at a rapid rate.”

Major advancements in technology are contributing to this development of sedentary lifestyles. “We hoped that technology would positively affect our health but we are discovering that the opposite is true,” says Dr. Jones. “If you plot the development of the personal computer and the increase in obesity rates on a graph, those two lines basically follow parallel to each other.” 

People are plugged in twenty-four, seven. “We don’t have the natural pace that we had in the past where we would switch off in the late afternoon, have weekends off and really get away,” says Susie Ellis, Chairman and CEO at the Global Wellness Institute. “People are working almost constantly and so we have an increase in stress.”

Get proactive now to maintain wellness

It is imperative, now more than ever, that people in their middle-age become proactive in maintaining their well-being. “You must start adopting healthy habits while you still have the necessary physiological resources,” says Dr. Jones, “so that you maintain wellness into your sixties, seventies and beyond.”

Many people are finding the answer in wellness tourism. Travel for the purpose of promoting health and well-being through physical, psychological or spiritual activities can offer much needed respite and rejuvenation.

“Health is multidimensional,” says Ellis. “There is a physical component, of course, but also social, emotional and spiritual components.” In our over-connected society, more people are using their travel time to nurture many different aspects of their well-being.

Nurture physical and mental well-being

“Wellness tourism is special because guests aren’t just provided with accommodation,” says Hans-Peter Mayr, CEO at Sparkling Hill Resort. “Their mental and physical issues can be fixed too.”

“Travel for the purpose of promoting health and well-being through physical, psychological, or spiritual activities can offer much needed respite and rejuvination."

Many wellness resorts offer onsite traditional doctors, alternative medicine practitioners from naturopaths to Ayurveda specialists, and even psychiatrists and will tailor customized treatment plans and incorporate them into an overall relaxing and enjoyable stay.

Getting back to nature has long been known to improve an individual’s physical and mental wellbeing. “Here we are lucky because we have a three hundred and sixty degree view looking out over mountains and lakes. No matter which way you turn, you’re looking out on an extremely peaceful environment,” says Mayr. “We have only one single goal: that guests leave in much better shape than they arrived.”