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Taking a vacation can have positive health benefits

A recent study could prompt consumers to book their next getaway

Photo (c) ALDECAstudio - Fotolia
The summer months are the prime time for consumers to get out of town and enjoy a relaxing vacation, and a recent study suggests that doing so can come with some interesting health benefits.

Researchers from Syracuse University found that going on vacation can actually work to reduce consumers’ risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

“What we found is that people who vacation more frequently in the past 12 months have lowered risk for metabolic syndrome and metabolic symptoms,” said researcher Bruce Hruska. “This is important because we are finally seeing a reduction in the risk for cardiovascular disease the more vacationing a person does. Because metabolic symptoms are modifiable, it means they can be changed or eliminated.”

Time to get away

To see how taking a vacation can affect consumers’ health, the researchers had over 60 workers take vacation time from their jobs. They drew blood from each of the participants and interviewed them about their vacationing habits over the previous year.

Vacations were viewed positively by the participants, with no one expressing any financial burden, travel-related stress, or issues with childcare. Additionally, participants typically used two weeks of their vacation days and averaged five trips over the course of the year.

The study results showed that more time vacationing led to better overall health; those who frequently vacationed were also at reduced risk for metabolic syndrome and metabolic symptoms. According to Hruska, “metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” so the more symptoms someone has, the greater their risk is of developing cardiovascular disease.

The association between vacations and reduced risk of heart disease remains unclear, but with many workers leaving vacation days on the table at the end of the year, the researchers urge consumers to take advantage of the time offered to them, as they could be improving their health along the way.

“One of the important takeaways is that vacation time available to nearly 80 percent of full-time employees, but fewer than half utilize all the time available to them,” said Hruska. “Our research suggests that if people use more of this benefit, one that’s already available to them, it would translate into a tangible health benefit.”

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