Holidays are a considerable boost to health

Lying on a beach all day grazing on the continual stream of delicious snacks appearing on the all-day buffet cart may not initially appear to be the best way to improve our health, but research has found that holidays can in fact provide a substantial boost to our mental and physical health.

Kuoni and Nuffield Health have published a Holiday Health Report which reveals that a holiday can generate wellbeing, especially when it comes to stress levels, blood pressure and sleep quality. Of the twelve people monitored, six went on holiday, either to Thailand, Peru or the Maldives, while the other six stayed at home.

The study found that for those who went on holiday, ability to recover from stress improved by 29%, in stark contrast to those who stayed at home, who experienced at 71% slump. Sleep quality also declined in the UK-based subjects by 27%, compared to an improvement in holidaymakers’ sleep quality of 34%.

According to the research, relaxing in paradise can bring physical health benefits as well as a mood boost. Those who jetted off abroad witnessed a 6% reduction in their blood pressure, compared to an average increase of 2% among those who didn’t have a holiday. Lowering blood pressure can reduce risk of heart attack and stroke.

Some holidaymakers even noticed an improved body shape, which experts put down to a fall in production of fat-storage hormone cortisol. This can bring down the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Psychotherapist Christine Webber said: “It’s apparent from our results that the majority of people feel happier, more rested and much less stressed because of their vacations.”

She added that the effects of going on holiday can last for months, especially for those who took the most active holiday. “You don’t need to lie on a beach to relax. In the experiment, the couple who went on the busiest holiday had the most long-lasting reduction in stress,” she said. If you are planning to go on holiday in 2013, remember to take out travel insurance for complete peace of mind.

Date Created: 31 January 2013

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