At the European Society of Cardiology conference in Munich, scientists presented the findings of a 40-year study that involved more than 1,200 middle-aged businessmen who were all at risk of heart disease.
Half were given instructions to exercise, eat sensibly, achieve a healthy weight and stop smoking, while the rest were left to their own devices.
Interestingly, it was found that the participants in the former group had a higher chance of dying young – suggesting that the advice they received may have added extra stress to their lives.
But the biggest takeaway? Those who took fewer than three weeks of annual leave a year were 37 per cent more likely to have a shorter lifespan than those who took longer vacays.
“The harm caused by the intensive lifestyle regime was concentrated in a subgroup of men with shorter yearly vacation time,” explained Professor Timo Strandberg of the University of Helinski. “In our study, men with shorter vacations worked more and slept less than those who took longer vacations.”
“This stressful lifestyle may have overruled any benefit of the intervention. We think the intervention itself may also have had an adverse psychological effect on these men by adding stress to their lives.”
Bottom line: book a dang holiday, for the good of your health.
“Don’t think having an otherwise healthy lifestyle will compensate for working too hard and not taking holidays,” he said. “Vacations can be a good way to relieve stress.”