12.04.2006

Why Vacations Are Important


Everyone seems to believe that vacations are good for our health. Is there really scientific proof that supports this thinking?

Yes. A study published in the year 2000 in the medical journal Psychosomatic Medicine has shown that taking regular vacations is associated with a longer, healthier life. Vacations, along with sleep, exercise, and other leisure time activities, appear to be restorative and protective against the ill effects of psychological stress. Over 12,000 men enrolled in a heart health study were followed over nine years. The men who took vacations in most years were 20 percent less likely to die of any cause than those who forewent regular vacations. The vacationers were also 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease. The association of vacations and lower death rates held even after controlling for higher education and income (conditions that might make vacations more possible), and poor health (existing heart disease might prevent vacations).

How does taking a vacation help protect health? Here are some good "excuses" to take a vacation:

• Vacation reduces stress by removing us from familiar stresses at work and home. During a vacation, we are more likely to unwind, relax, and put anticipated threats out of our minds.

• Vacations may also provide a unique opportunity to indulge in other behaviors that have restorative and stress-buffering effects, such as social contact with family and friends.

• For some, a vacation may be more of a personal, internal adventure. Many self-seekers want to be alone to solve personal problems or simply enjoy themselves. Solitude is not a luxury; it is a periodic necessity.

• One of the most compelling reasons to take a vacation is to pamper yourself. Many people work quite hard and are generally frugal. Everyone deserves to taste the fruits of their labors – an occasional time to splurge, to live it up, to fulfill dreams, to be treated well, and feel important.

• The essence of a vacation is the freedom to do what you want when you want. It also offers the freedom to explore our own wishes and fantasies. For a brief moment, we may escape the time pressures of the modern era and rediscover the joy of a less regulated lifestyle.

So, do not forget to take time off for a vacation. It will not only be enjoyable but will also be healthful!

Source: An Apple A Day by Tyrone M. Reyes, M.D. The Philippine STAR 01/18/2005

No comments: