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Taking a vacation is proven to be good for your heart

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to take a vacation, a recent study might just help you take the plunge. According to the study, conducted by researchers from Syracuse University, a person can reduce their risk factors for cardiovascular disease simply by signing off, unplugging and enjoying a relaxing vacation.

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If a person has more than one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, they are at a higher risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Researchers say taking a vacation can reduce metabolic syndrome and metabolic symptoms that raise that risk.

For the study, 63 workers who were eligible for paid vacation had their blood drawn and completed an interview to assess their vacation behavior in the past 12 months. The assessment included vacation frequency, length, location, financial burden, social context, the person’s positive or negative appraisal of the vacation, activities they are engaged in and more.

The study showed that people who went on vacations more frequently in the past 12 months had a lower risk for metabolic syndrome and a lesser number of metabolic symptoms, compared to those who vacationed less often. Researchers also found that with each additional vacation taken by study participants, the risk for metabolic syndrome decreased by nearly a quarter and metabolic symptoms decreased by 8%.

The study’s authors explain, “Importantly, one of the most commonly reported activities occurring during vacations were social activities such as spending time with family or sharing a meal with friends. This is significant given the influential role that social relationships have on physical and psychological health.”

The researchers noted that the United States is the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee paid vacation time to its workers and even among the 77% of American workers who do have paid vacation time available, less than half fully utilize it, which could play a detrimental role in their physical health.

In other words, if you have vacation time, use it, because your health may depend on it. If it’s been a while since you took a few days off work to relax and unwind, now might be the perfect time to do so.

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