Do you think vacations are good for your health?
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
In this article, read what experts say about the effects of vacations to your health. The escape from toil may be just the breather the body needs to restore itself. Some of us with hectic jobs in Fiji won't even consider a vacation because its time constraining, you spend more money and it might be a hassle taking everybody, however www.npr.org says something different.
Whether you spend your free moments playing sports, socialising with friends or reading quietly, research suggests that the more of it there is, the better you feel and the healthier you are.
"It is important to engage in multiple leisure activities, both as a way to enjoy life more, but also to potentially have a benefit on health and be a stress reliever," says Karen Matthews of the University of Pittsburgh's Mind-Body Centre.
The website reports that researchers from the centre surveyed 1399 participants recruited for four other studies on breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and other conditions. They were asked how often they'd spent the previous month doing something they enjoyed. "Leisure, including vacation contributed to more positive emotions and fewer negative emotions and depression," Matthews said.
People who had more leisure activities reported more life satisfaction. "They tended to be more religious and spiritual orientation. They reported having a lot of support from friends and having a large network of friends and family."
Among the benefits to be found from engaging in multiple activities are lower blood pressure, lower stress hormones and smaller waists.
Europeans embrace this idea almost religiously. Vacations are enshrined in laws. In countries like Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, employers are required to provide up to 20 days of paid leave just like Fiji. US on the other hand, get an average of 12 days every year. A study conducted by the Families and Work Institute found that less than half of U.S employees take the full vacation.
The website says writer, Jessica de Bloom studied the effects of vacation on stress, recovery and work motivation at the Radboud University in Netherlands. Having just spent three weeks in Croatia, on vacation herself, she was feeling just fine. But her research found that for most people, the overall feeling of well-being that comes after a vacation quickly vanishes. She's done an analysis of research conducted in Europe, Israel and the U.S that assesses how people feel before, during and after a vacation.
"People felt healthier during vacation. They had a better mood," de Bloom says. "They were less tense, higher level of energy, and they were more satisfied with their life."
Probably the best evidence of the effects of vacations can be found in the Framingham Heart Study, which scientists have been plumbing for years to understand what contributes to our well-being. More than 12,000 men who were at risk of heart disease were followed over nine years to see if there were ways to improve their longevity. Among the questions they were asked annually was about vacations.
"The more frequent the vacations, the longer the men lived," says Matthews, who analysed the data to assess the benefits of vacations.