Your health:

Holidays benefit our health!

Tara Wilkins
We all love a good holiday, whether that be lying on a warm beach for a week or hiking up a mountain. Getting away from everyday normality, forgetting about work and the stresses in our lives for a much needed break always leaves us feeling refreshed.

In a first of its kind experiment, tour operator Kuoni and Nuffield Health have teamed together to see if the "feel good factor" as they call it, that we get from holidays is based on physical and psychological fact.

The experiment took place between summer and autumn 2012, with two different groups. The first group getting to go on holiday and the second group staying at home. (I know which group I would rather have been in!) Both groups all had stress-resilience testing and a 360+ health assessment. They also had psychotherepeutic tests conducted by psychiatrist Christine Webber.

The findings of the experiment proved that the group who were sent on holiday for two weeks in either Peru, Thailand or the Maldives were in a better position, healthwise, than those who had stayed at home. On average the blood pressure of the travelling group went down by 6% whilst the non-travelling
group went up by 2%, also the holidaymakers saw a 17% improvement on their sleep quality whilst non-holidaymakers reduced by 14%.

It was also found that the ability to recover from stress saw an average improvement of 29% amongst the holidaymakers!

Dr Lucy Goundry from Nuffield Health said: "These results clearly demonstrate that on holiday our resilience to stress (our ability to physically cope with stress) improves. Becoming more resilient to stress is hugely important as most of us will return back to stress when our holiday ends but being more resilient to it helps lay the foundations for improved productivity at work, better energy levels and ultimately happiness."

What's also important is that the effects of a holiday don't just last when we are there.

Psychiatrist Christine Webber said: "I have discovered that these benefits continue well past the vacation – in fact, for months afterwards.I have seen some of our participants make real changes to their everyday lives as a result of their holidays.

"I have noticed how couples grow closer together. I have witnessed how going somewhere exotic and different can not only alter people’s perspectives on the world, but can also help to increase levels of confidence and happiness in their own individual lives."

Even though we probably already knew that having a holiday is good for us, it is important that we have the facts and figures to prove just that. We are only human, work, work, work is not beneficial to our health, we need time to recuperate!

 If a holiday helps us to decrease our blood pressure (which decreases our chance of a stroke, heart attacks etc), sleep better and build up a better resilience to stress then I say get booking your summer hols! 

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