For Better Health, Take a VacationPosted: June 17, 2014 in Lifestyle by Craig Primack MD FACP
If you are like more than forty percent of American workers you have lost unused vacation time. This fact is more surprising when we take into account that workers in the United States generally receive about half the vacation days that workers in other countries receive. Sadly, we are the only developed country in the world with no legal requirement for paid vacation days or holidays. Twenty five percent of US workers get no paid vacation time at all.
With this as our legacy we may be inclined to think that vacation is not that important – certainly it does not seem to be a priority for employers. Last year, employers had to deal with 429 million unused vacation days left behind by their workers.
However, numerous studies show that not only does vacation time make us more productive during the hours we spend at work. According to Forbes, if employees would take one extra day of eligible leave the increase in productivity would mean $73 billion.
So if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the good of the country – take some time off!
Here’s what it can do for you:
- Potentially increase life expectancy. Vacations may help you live longer according to a study conducted by the State University of New York at Oswego. After surveying 12-thousand men ages 35 to 57, researchers concluded that men who vacation every year reduce their overall risk of death by 20 percent. Though this study was centered on men, it couldn’t hurt for women to take an overdue retreat, either.
- Good for your heart. Vacationing at least two times a year, instead of every six years, could help reduce your risk of heart attack by 50 percent, according to the Framingham Heart Study findings.
- Feel happier. According to Dutch scientists, the simple feeling of anticipation that accompanies future travel plans can increase happiness. What’s more, vacations and other leisure activities can lead to a more positive outlook and help lower levels of depression.
- Refreshes your brain. Some experts believe vacationing benefits your brain, as the break from the hustle and bustle of daily life allows your brain cells time to properly refresh. Vacations allow your body and mind time for stress recovery and the process of psychophysiological unwinding. Some even say taking a vacation can help you come up with some of your best ideas while away from the office.
- Increases productivity. Numerous studies on workers show that time off helps workers come back from vacation and be more productive. In addition to improving well-being, vacations may boost job performance.
- Feel healthier. According to research published in the Journal of Occupational Health, some people feel healthier, happier and less-stressed while on vacation. They also felt more energized and were more satisfied with life in general.
So how does this help with your weight loss and weight control? Surely taking time for relaxing and is going to lead to weight gain.
Think of it this way. Making changes when you are already stuck in a routine can be very difficult. When you are sitting at a desk struggling to stay motivated through the afternoon, you are limited in the changes you can make that will benefit your health. Not so if you are on vacation clocking up ten miles on your pedometer sightseeing or actively trying new diversions such as hiking, swimming or even stand up paddle boarding.
You’ll feel better, find more energy, and be more motivated to improve your health when you return home. So take a fitness vacation and improve your health while you clear your head and make some positive changes. Doctor’s orders!