September 05, 2018

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Love holidays? Here's how a vacation helps your heart

When was the last time you took a break from work? If you can’t remember the last time you went on a vacation, it’s a huge sign that you need a vacation. According to science, you may be doing good to more than just your mental health by going on a holiday!

The New York Times reported that taking a break ever so often can mitigate the risks caused by workplace stress. In fact, going on vacation every two years compared to every six would actually reduce the risk of coronary heart disease or heart attacks!

Here’s what happens to your body when you take a break:

You improve your heart health

Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of a vacation on your cardiovascular health. A 9-year study that followed 12,000 men who had a high risk for coronary heart disease found that frequent annual vacations resulted in a reduced mortality rate from not just heart disease, but any cause.

The Framingham Heart Study - the longest-running study of cardiovascular disease - found is that a lack of vacations was an active predictor of the 20-year incidence of heart attacks and death.

The study revealed that men who did not take a vacation for several years were 30% more likely to have heart attacks compared to men who did not take time off. And women who took a vacation only once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack compared to women who vacationed at least twice a year.

You improve your mental health!

Probably the most noticeable effect of taking a break, going on a holiday can actually uplift your mood for an extended period of time!

The benefits of a holiday extend prior to actually going on your trip as well. In fact, researchers have found that pre-vacationers planning for their trip reported better moods with a higher degree of happiness and satisfaction.

You sleep better

Ever noticed that while on holiday, you get to skip the tossing and turning, snoozing as soon as your head hits the pillow?

For the insomniac, vacations can actually do more at helping you hit your sleep quota. A 2006 study funded by Air New Zealand found that while on vacation in New Zealand, people had their heart rates lowered by around 4%. They also clocked-in an average of 20 additional minutes of sleep when they returned home from their holidays!

Your body on stress:

When exposed to stress, your body goes into a fight or flight mode and releases the cortisol, a stress hormone that has been linked to a greater risk of heart disease, anxiety and depression.

Love your heart with these easy tips:

  1. Laughter is the best medicine. Humour and laughter have been linked to better heart health by lowering stress hormones, reducing artery inflammation and increase your levels of HDL (the good cholesterol).

  2. Switch out the refined grains in your diet to heart-healthy whole grains! By making the switch, you reduce your risk of heart disease by a whopping 25% to 28%!

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Charlene K
Charlene K

Author

Charlene enjoys long walks to the fridge, makeup and emotional eating. A former journalism student and avid skincare nerd, you'll find her on the weekends reading up and writing about the properties of ceramides, acids and oils.



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