Science Says Taking Vacation Can Extend One's Lifespan By Years

woman on vacation

There is simply no denying that fact that being a parent is the most difficult job in the entire world. Heck, being an adult, in general, is hard. We work so hard during the day, and often times factor in extended office hours, cook healthy meals, spend time with our families - and let's not forget the time spent schlepping our kiddos from one activity to the next.

It's exhausting.  And tiring enough to make you want to somehow take multiple vacations a year if possible. Right? Yes! Well, according to new research about the health benefits of vacation time, those days off from work will help lead to a longer life.

Yes, we're talking actual years added to your life here. That's how important this new research is saying that taking a vacation is. The research was done by the European Society of Cardiology and truly speaks volumes.

PREVIOUSLY: Americans Receive Fewer Vacation Days Than Everybody Else

The study looked at 1,222 middle-aged male executives born in 1919 to 1934 and recruited into the Helsinki Businessmen Study in 1974 and 1975. Each participant had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease (smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, glucose intolerance, overweight). They were split into two different groups: the control group (610 men) and an intervention group (612 men) and looked at over a five year period of time.

family on vacation beach
Credit: iStock / petrenkod

The men in the intervention group were given both oral and written advice every four months to do aerobic activity, eat a healthy diet, achieve a healthy weight, and stop smoking. If that healthy advice was not effective, then they also received drugs recommended at that time to lower blood pressure (beta-blockers and diuretics) and lipids (clofibrate and probucol). Men in the control group received their normal healthcare and were not seen by the investigators.

The researchers found that the death rate was consistently higher in the intervention group compared to the control group, up until 2004. Death rates were the same in both groups between 2004 and 2014. What was the difference? Shorter vacations were associated with excess deaths in the intervention group. In this group, men who took three weeks or less annual vacation had a 37% greater chance of dying in 1974 to 2004 than those who took more than three weeks. Vacation time had no impact on risk of death in the control group.

Moral of the study: don't be afraid to request some time off. Not only will it bring both you and your family a sense of adventure, but extra years together, too!

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