Health Benefits Of Vacationing
A team of Syracuse University researchers have found that people who vacationed more frequently in the 12 months preceding the study had a lower risk for metabolic syndrome, a collection of conditions dramatically increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. They report that the 63 participants in their investigation took approximately five vacations, using about two weeks of their paid vacation days over the course of a year. The more vacation days they took, the lower their prevalence of metabolic syndrome symptoms. Overall, the risk observed for developing metabolic syndrome decreased by nearly a quarter with each additional vacation the study participants took, compared to their peers who didn’t vacation. Study leader Bryce Hruska, an assistant professor of public health, said he and his team are still learning what it is about vacations that make them good for heart health, “but at this point…we do know that it is important for people to use the vacation time that is available to them” and that taking advantage of vacation time “would translate into a tangible health benefit.”
My take? These interesting findings bolster earlier research on the health benefits of vacations, including a reduced risk of all causes of death and, more specifically, of deaths due to heart disease for middle aged men at high risk. A study of female participants in the long-running Framingham Heart Study found that women who vacationed only once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack than those who took at least two vacations a year.
I consider vacations a form of preventive medicine. I know that I need changes of scenery and activities to disengage from my usual pressures and routines. By getting away physically from the daily grind – and without being tethered to it by cell phone or laptop – you can help rejuvenate your body and refresh your mind.
Bryce Hruska et al, “Vacation frequency is associated with metabolic syndrome and symptoms,” Psychology & Health, June 17, 2019, doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2019.1628962
More from this week’s bulletin:
- Working Long Hours Linked To Strokes
- Low Carb Diet For Metabolic Syndrome
- Tasty Sumer Recipe: Lemon-Garlic Hummus With Pita Chips