How to live longer: go on a holiday

It is a theory long thought true: that taking a holiday was good for your physical and mental well-being. Now, this hypothesis has been backed up by scientific evidence.

According to a study conducted by tour operator Kuoni and Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity, holidays contribute to lower blood pressure, improved sleep quality and better stress management – all significant factors in helping people live longer.

Setting out to establish whether the ‘feel good factor’ generated by vacations was based on physical and scientific fact, the ‘Holiday Health Experiment’ also found that the positive effects of taking a break continued for at least two weeks after returning home.

Participants of the study were split into travel and non-travel groups, with the travelling group sent on vacation to Thailand, Peru or the Maldives and the other group ordered to stay at home and continue working; they then underwent before and after stress-resilience testing, psychotherapeutic examinations and full health assessments.

Among its key findings, the study found that the blood pressure of holidaymakers dropped by six percent over the test period, while the blood pressure of the non-vacationers went up by two percent.

The study also revealed that holidaymakers saw a 17 percent improvement in sleep quality, with non-vacationers experiencing a decline of 14 percent in sleep quality.

Additionally, the stress resistance among vacationers rose by 29 percent, compared to a 71 percent fall in the scores of the non-holiday makers.

Talking to the results of the stress tests, Nuffield Health Medical Director (Wellbeing) Dr. Lucy
Goundry said “the results clearly demonstrate that on holiday our resilience to 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.”

Ed Note: This is a summary of the report. It sounds great, BUT one needs to look at how this was conducted and sample numbers used. The final result is what we really know anyway - isn't it?