When is the last time you went on vacation? If you are still trying to remember, you may not be as close to the Fountain of Youth
as those who travel and go on vacation regularly. Several studies have found that vacationing at least once a year brings many health benefits that can actually make you live longer!
Going on a vacation at least once a year may help add years to your life, according to a study conducted by the State University of New York. The team of researchers surveyed 12,000 men between the ages of 35 to 57, and found that taking time off from work once a year, for at least a week, reduced their overall risk of dying by 20 percent. On the other hand, men who didn’t take a vacation in five years had the highest rate of death, and experienced more heart disease than everyone else surveyed.
Aside from possibly increasing your life expectancy, there are several other benefits that come from taking time off:Better Mental Health
– There was a recent study published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal
that found women who took vacations more frequently were less likely to become depressed, tired, or stressed. The women who rarely took time off, though, had trouble sleeping at night and developed stress easier. While this study focused on women, it’s hard to imagine that men won’t have similar results.Increased Happiness
– Do you know that feeling of anxiousness and excitement that follows after booking a vacation? Dutch scientists have noted that this feeling of anticipation for future travel plans actually increases happiness levels as well, and lowers depression.Stronger Heart
– According to a report published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine
, men that had a high risk of heart disease yet took regular vacations were 30 percent less likely to die from a heart attack. Another study by the Framingham Heart Study found that taking at least 2 vacations per year helped reduce your chances of developing coronary heart disease by at least 8 times, compared to individuals who only took time off every 6 years.
Unfortunately, apparently the United States workforce doesn’t like to take vacations
. A study conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Expedia found that 33 percent of us are not using up all of our vacation time each year. On average, American workers are losing around four days of potential time off each year. There might be several reasons as to why this is; you are too busy, don’t want to stress over planning a trip, or would rather take the upfront payout for the vacation time.
If you find that you are having trouble saving up for that special trip
, try this: take the dollar amount that you think the trip will cost (let’s say $1,200), and divide it by however many times you get paid that year. If you get paid weekly, for example, divide by 52. In this example, you would be able to reach your goal by saving only $23 a week! The anticipation and thought of vacation will be sure to keep you motivated enough to save, and you will reward yourself with reduced stress, a healthier heart, and most importantly, the chance to add more than a few years to your life.Cited Sources
Sahadi, Jeanne. "A Page from the Burnout Chronicles." CNN.com
. CNN Money, n.d. Web. 20 Aug. 2012. <http://money.cnn.com/2006/05/23/pf/vacation_days/index.htm>.
Melamed, Julia, MD. "For Anti-Aging, Take a Vacation." Doctor4Diet.com
. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Aug. 2012. <http://www.doctor4diet.com/anti-aging/for-anti-aging-take-a-vacation>.