What’s the Damage?
Can a Caribbean jaunt stave off heart disease? Possibly. When researchers from the State University of New York at Oswego surveyed 12,000 men ages 35 to 57, 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. Plus, workaholics are at risk for stress-related high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Can You Undo It?
Yes—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. Read on to learn how to use your next vacation to boost your health.
Don’t Work This Weekend
Can’t book an indulgent getaway for a while? 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 don’t work this weekend. Skip home repairs, major lawn and garden work (unless it’s a hobby you really love) and any other stressful obligations. Adopt a “staycation” mentality: eat a leisurely breakfast, go for a scenic stroll, visit a local attraction, dine out with friends. Then plan to do the same on one day of every weekend from now on.