When you’ve just started a new job or you’re trying to get a promotion, you may think about not using your vacation days for the year. But you might want to think twice before giving up your vacation.
According to a new study out of the University of Helsinki, going on vacation could actually help you live longer!
Researchers at the University of Helsinki conducted this study for 40 years.
The study ran from 1974 to 2014, and it included 1,222 middle-aged men born between 1919 and 1934. All of these men had at least one thing about them that gave them a high risk of getting cardiovascular disease. Some men were smokers, some had high cholesterol, some were overweight, and some had high blood pressure.
The men in the study were randomly split into two groups: a control group and an intervention group.
The control group lived their lives normally, but the intervention group met with doctors every four months and received advice on how to live a healthier life. If this didn’t help, they also received medicine like beta blockers.
After the study was finished, researchers noticed something surprising about the intervention group. The people in the intervention group who took shorter vacations had a 37% greater risk of dying between 1974 and 2004.
The people in the intervention group were all living healthy lifestyles, but the thing that made the real difference was if they were taking time to de-stress. The breaks from work helped these men tremendously.
Researchers from the University of Helsinki presented their data at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in 2018. One of the researchers, Professor Timo Strandberg, discussed why it was so important for the men in the intervention group to take vacations:
“In our study, men with shorter vacations worked more and slept less than those who took longer vacations. This stressful lifestyle may have overruled any benefit of the intervention.”
Professor Strandberg hopes people will start taking more vacations—they’re one of the best ways to reduce stress:
“Don’t think having an otherwise healthy lifestyle will compensate for working too hard and not taking holidays,” said Professor Strandberg. “Vacations can be a good way to relieve stress.”
It can be difficult to find the right time to take a vacation from work, but doing so can have immense benefits. As this study shows, vacations can greatly improve your physical health. Other studies have also found vacations can improve your mental health. Vacations can help you be more productive at work, and they can you simply feel more relaxed and in control.
As this study from the University of Helsinki shows, if you’re looking for a way to live longer, a vacation could be just what you need. Book your plane ticket, pack your suitcase, and get ready to prolong your life!
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