Live longer, take a holiday

N2K_Stress_2011_6mmWe all know this really, but now it’s official – holidays give us many health benefits according to a new study. Among the findings of The Holiday Health Experiment conducted by tour operator Kuoni, and Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity, were:

Blood pressure of the holidaymakers dropped by a beneficial six per cent while the average of the non-holidaymakers went up over the same period by two per cent. High blood pressure can cause strokes and heart attacks, so avoiding it can be a life saver.

Sleep quality of the holidaymakers improved while that of the non-holidaymakers deteriorated. Holidaymakers saw a 17 per cent improvement while the average for non-holidaymakers reduced by 14 per cent. The body heals when we are asleep so the quality of sleep is essential for physical and mental repair.

Stress – the ability to recover from stress saw an average improvement of 29 per cent among holidaymakers. This compared to a 71 per cent fall in stress resilience scores among the non-holidaymakers. The higher the stress resilience score, the better someone recovers from stress. Stress in itself causes absence from work, but has many other knock-on effects such as depression, anxiety, and serious illness.

Participants were divided into a travel group and a non-travel group and all had stress-resilience testing and a 360+ Health Assessment by Nuffield Health. This was carried out alongside psychotherapeutic tests conducted by psychotherapist Christine Webber. The Holiday Health Experiment was carried out between summer and autumn 2012, revealing how holidays may help us live longer. The results are published in The Holiday Health Report.

Six participants in one group were then sent on a holiday for two weeks to Thailand, Peru or the Maldives. The other six people stayed at home and continued working. In September 2012, all participants underwent a second array of clinical and psychological tests and wore heart monitors for 72 hours.

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