Pack Your Bags - Study Says Taking Vacations Can Help You Live Longer

Traveling is good for the mind, body and soul...clearly!

By: Amanda Mushro

If you're thinking of using your vacation days to get the oil changed in your car or to get your driver's license renewed--stop right now and start planning your next getaway. Because according to a new study, taking a vacation is good for your health and can help you live longer.

Researchers from the European Society of Cardiology recently conducted a study where they reviewed the health records of 1,222 middle-aged male executives that previously participated in a health trial in the 1970s. For the study, the men were randomly split into two different groups. The first group was a control group where the men lived their lives as they always did and did not meet with the study's investigators. The second group, called the intervention group, were given advice on how to improve their health such as exercise, diet changes, tips to hit a healthy weight, or to stop smoking.

What they found was the men who improved their lifestyles still had a higher mortality rate if they did not take vacations. So all of those lifestyle changes were still not enough to add years to their life without the rest and relaxation of a vacation.

"In our study, men with shorter vacations worked more and slept less than those who took longer vacations," coauthor Timo Strandberg said in a statement. "This stressful lifestyle may have overruled any benefit of the intervention."

During the 15-year check-in for participants, the men in the intervention group had a higher mortality rate than those in the control group. Researchers believe these men were working too hard, not sleeping enough, and not taking enough vacation.

It's not just taking a vacation but also the length of the vacation that can affect your health. However the amount of time may not be doable for most Americans.

According to researchers, men in the intervention group had a 37 percent higher chance of dying between 1974 and 2004 if they'd taken vacations lasting less than three weeks as compared to those who took vacations lasting three weeks or more.

While not everyone has the opportunity to take three weeks off from work at one time, it may be worth looking into vacations longer than just a weekend away.

So maybe it's time to break out your calendar, start planning your next vacation, and ask your boss for a few days off. After all, you can chalk up the rest and relaxation as being good for your health.

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