From the Heart

Boosting heart health.

Take a Vacation for Your Health

Overworking and not taking time off may be taking a serious toll on your health.

Are you feeling down or stressed out by work? You work hard, you deserve a vacation. With summer soon approaching, it’s the perfect time to plan your vacation getaway. Sometimes you just need to take a break and allow yourself some time to relax. Studies suggest that taking a vacation is good for you and your health. In fact, leaving vacation days unused like most Americans, can unfortunately decrease your overall productivity, increase stress and other health risks, and increase the likelihood you’ll burnout at work.

Taking a vacation helps revive the heart, rejuvenate your body, recharge your mind, and soothe your soul. Research shows that overall health can deteriorate over time if we don’t take a break from work. If your budget allows, try taking a vacation to Maui and enjoy multi-colored beaches with jaw-dropping scenery, and a perfect spot to get pampered at a tranquil spa.

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However, you do not need to take a long two week vacation somewhere out of the country or in Maui. It can also be something simple such as a camping expedition or yoga retreat. The point is to get away and relax or do something adventurous, participate in multiple leisure activities and learn to enjoy life.

Studies have found that people who engaged in more leisure activities reported more life satisfaction, fewer negative emotions, tended to be more spiritually connected, and reported having a lot of support from family and friends making them feel more content.

Perhaps one of the best evidence of the benefits of vacations can be found in the famous Framingham Heart Study, the long-term ongoing cardiovascular study that began in 1948 to analyze adult subjects who were at risk of heart disease. When the study looked at the effects of vacations from following subjects over a nine-year period they found a positive correlation between more frequent vacations and longer healthier lives. The study reported that men who skipped vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who took a vacation at least one week a year. Based on these findings, the study reported that skipping even one year’s vacation time can be associated with increased risk of heart disease. Vacations may not only be enjoyable but also health promoting.

The summer is soon about to start, so plan your vacation and you’ll feel better rested, healthier and more productive when you return.

For some more vacation getaway ideas to help heal your mind, body, soul, and heart read Dr. Cynthia Thaik’s full text article http://drcynthia.com/vacation-getaways-to-heal-the-heart-mind-body-and-soul-2012-10-01/

Cynthia Thaik, M.D., is a Harvard trained physician and currently an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine

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