Did you know that not taking vacation could lead to a higher risk for heart disease?
State University of New York researchers at Oswego surveyed 12,000 men ages 35 to 57, and they found that those who didn’t take at least one week-long vacation per year boosted their risk of dying from heart disease by 30 percent during the course of the nine-year study.
If you have been leading a high-stress lifestyle with few opportunities for relaxation, you need to stay on top of your heart health.
Vacations help because any stress reduction, even for a few days, gives your heart and blood pressure a break. In one small New Zealand study, researchers found that vacationers slept about an hour longer than they did at home and got three times more deep, rejuvenating sleep afterward than they were getting before their time off.
Even making relaxation a priority over the weekend can help. When Finnish researchers tracked the health habits of 800 women and men for 28 years, they found that those who didn’t take a break from work-related stress over the weekend were three times more likely to have a fatal heart attack as those who got plenty of rest.
So what can you do immediately to reverse your high-stress lifestyle?
Don’t work this weekend. Skip home repairs, major lawn and garden work (unless it is a hobby you really love!), and any other stressful obligation. Pretend you’re on vacation. Eat a leisurely breakfast. Go for a walk. Visit a local attraction that you like. Take in a concert. Dine out with friends. Then, plan to do the same on one day of every weekend from now on.
Plan a real vacation. Half the battle to taking a vacation is committing to a time. So get out your calendar and pick a week (or more). Commit to it at work and among your family. Then get to the task of finding some great options, based on the budget you can afford. Merely looking for a perfect week-long sojourn can be relaxing and heart healthy!
Make sure your next trip is relaxing. Even if you take vacations, you may be missing out on the health benefits if you try to do too much or agree to do activities that others like but that you simply don’t enjoy. Put activities you like on the agenda, including time for relaxation beside the pool, lake, or ocean…or get a massage, spa treatment, or take a long walk in nature.
Move! See the sights on foot. Take advantage of outdoor attractions such as sculpture gardens, nature trails, lakeside paths, or a stretch of beautiful beach and take a long walk. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins. Using your feet makes for happy vacations.
Consider rural over urban. Vacations in cities are loud, exciting, and exhausting. Vacations in the country are quiet, peaceful, and recharging. For your health, the latter is what you need most. That doesn’t mean choose a boring vacation – just one that gets you away from the hustle and bustle you face at home.
So, when is a good time to start planning your vacation? NOW! With the new year upon us many of you have a fresh new allotment of PTO or vacation time available to use at work. Plan it wisely for maximum relaxation! So take it from the Beach Boys....Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I want to take you to / Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama !
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