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Could holidays help you live longer?

Could holidays help you live longer?

Most people need little persuading when it comes to taking a holiday. Getting away from it all? It’s the perfect tonic to a weary heart. But are there any physical health benefits to holidays? Fetch your swimming costume, because new research says yes. And we’re talking about more than bronzed skin and a glowing smile.

The psychological benefits of a happy holiday have long been touted. But there’s never been any truly illuminating research into the physical health benefits of a holiday. Until now. A recent study by Kuoni and Nuffield Health sought to find once and for all if that holiday feel-good factor is reflected by improvements to physical health. The results are good news for travel-lovers.

How was the study conducted?

Kuoni and Nuffield Health gathered twelve volunteers. Each was given a health assessment and psychological test. They were also asked to wear heart monitors. The volunteers (made up of couples that were partners or friends) were then split into two groups. One group was sent on holiday to either Thailand, Peru or the Maldives. The other group stayed at home. Two weeks after the holidaymakers returned, the medical tests were repeated.

The findings suggest holidays are a hit for health

Take problems in your stride

Once you’ve reached your limit, stress has a nasty tendency to grow. A holiday could re-tip the tolerance scales back in your favour. Average stress resilience among the holidaymakers in this study improved by 29%. That could be the difference between making a bad decision in the heat of the moment and tackling a challenge logically. Which would you prefer?

Improve your Zs

Ever wake up wishing you could have another hour in bed? So do most people. Take stress out of the equation and it’s amazing how quickly your Zs improve. The holidaymakers' sleep quality in this study improved across the board. And we don’t need to tell you that restorative sleep has numerous benefits - from better skin to sharper cognitive function.

Reign in your high blood pressure  

A good example of how mood can have a detrimental physical effect on your body is the link between stress and high blood pressure. The holidaymakers in this study experienced an average reduction in blood pressure of 6%. In comparison the average blood pressure of the volunteers who didn't have a holiday increased by 2%. High blood pressure leads to increased risk of strokes and heart attacks. So it’s worth keeping it in check.

Cut that curmudgeonly cortisol

Cortisol is a hormone that your body produces when you are stressed or anxious. It can cause fat-storage and reduced fertility. Long-term impacts include an increased risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. In this study, cortisol levels were lower in those who went on holiday than those who didn’t.

Boost your energy

Healthy mind, healthy body. The study found that going on holiday can improve digestive health too by facilitating the absorption of key vitamins and nutrients into your body and boosting energy levels.

Room for us in your suitcase?

If that’s got you reaching for the travel brochures, then remember to arrange your world travel insurance too. World First gives you comprehensive cover for total peace of mind, including £5 million medical cover, cancellation cover and cover for hundreds of pre-existing medical conditions. Our policies also include complimentary sports travel insurance for dozens of activities. Here’s to a happy holiday. Here’s to good health.

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