Thursday, March 31, 2011

Benefits of Even the Tiniest Vacay

You don't have to spend a month on a deserted beach to reap the good-health benefits of a vacation (though it would be nice, wouldn't it?). Even an out-and-back business trip can give you a health boost:

* Your heart might be healthier. According to research, people who took only one vacation once every six years or less were almost eight times as likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack as women who took at least two vacations per year.

* Your head state will improve. One study found that people who took frequent vacations were less likely to become depressed, tired, or tense. In the same study, people who didn't take as many vacations were more likely to sleep less and be stressed at home.

* Your stress levels will decrease. Even if you end up stuck in traffic or worrying about what to pack, taking a break from your day-to-day routine and focusing on a new city will shake off your daily stress, according to a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

* You'll get more energy. There's the relaxation aspect (maybe you'll get to hit the pool during your short stay!), but it's also a good time to try to log a little extra sleep or an extra mile on the hotel treadmill--jumpstarting habits that could lead to higher energy levels.

* You could live longer. The Framingham Heart Study followed 12,000 men at risk for heart disease over the course of nine years. Those who took more vacations lived longer.

When was your last trip? Do you have any vacations planned? Where would you go this weekend if you could go anywhere in the world? Pack those bags, book that flight and live longer ;)

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