We always suspected it but now it seems that there is proof that going on holiday really IS good for your health… and the benefits last for months. Tests showed going on holiday improves sleep, cuts blood pressure and even helps weight loss. Volunteers were happier and had more energy for at least two weeks after their holiday ended.
A report, based on new research, published in The Daily Mail newspaper explains that going on holiday not only makes you feel good while you’re there – you reap the health benefits for months.
Jetting off to exotic destinations cuts your blood pressure, helps you sleep better and bounce back from stress, it found. The benefits last at least a fortnight longer than the vacation and can be felt for months in some cases it is claimed.
The study compared key health markers in holidaymakers visiting Thailand, Peru or the Maldives, with people who stayed at home and continued working.
- The average blood pressure of those on holiday dropped by six per cent while the workers saw their blood pressure rise by two per cent over the same period.
- The sleep quality of holidaymakers improved by 17 per cent while that of the non-holidaymakers deteriorated by 14 per cent.
- The study also found the ability of vacationers to recover from stress – known as the stress-resilience test – improved by 29 per cent. There was a 71 per cent fall in stress resilience scores among workers.
- Tests showed a fall in blood glucose levels, reducing the risk of diabetes, trimmer waistlines and enhanced mood and energy levels, with the effects sustained for at least two weeks after returning home.
The Holiday Health Experiment was conducted by tour operator Kuoni and Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest health care charity.
Altogether 12 volunteers underwent a health assessment, wore heart monitors to measure their sleep patterns and resilience to stress, had psycho-therapeutic tests and were given dietary and lifestyle advice in summer 2012. Half were sent on a two-week holiday abroad while the remainder stayed working at home. Afterwards everyone had a second array of clinical and psychological tests and wore heart monitors for 72 hours.
Psychotherapist Christine Webber, who carried out the testing, said blood pressure reductions are important to reduce the chances of stroke and heart attacks, while better sleep is good for the immune system.
She said: ‘It’s apparent from our results that the majority of people feel happier, more rested and much less stressed because of their vacations. But, even more importantly, I have discovered that these benefits continue well past the vacation – in fact, for months afterwards. I have also noted with interest that you don’t need to lie on a beach to relax. In the experiment, the couple who went on the busiest holiday had the most long-lasting reduction in stress.’
Dr Lucy Goundry, Nuffield Health, Medical Director, said ‘For the first time, our clinical results show how holidays helped these couples reduce their blood pressure, improve their sleep and manage their stress levels better. These results clearly demonstrate that on holiday our ability to physically cope with stress improves. As many as a third of workers do not take their full holiday entitlement each year – I urge everyone to ensure they plan their holidays carefully. Working hard is important but so is taking time to rest and recuperate.’
Derek Jones, Kuoni managing director, said:
‘This study backs up with evidence the long-held belief that holidays are good for our health. I hope people will acknowledge not only a boost to their productivity, but to their longevity from taking full annual leave, preferably peppered throughout the year. Saying you’re too busy to take your full entitlement could be counterproductive. Regular holidays can be counted as preventive medicine.’
And if you are stuck for holiday ideas, we can certainly recommend our lovely island of Mallorca as the perfect holiday destination to help you enjoy your full quota of annual leave!
Article taken in part from www.dailymail.co.uk
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