Holidaying benefits may last for months: study
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Researchers say the benefits last at least a fortnight longer than the vacation and can be felt for months in some cases.
They say people who are working should always take their full holiday entitlement each year - which as many as one in three don't - to reap the benefits, the 'Daily Mail' reported.
The study compared key health markers in holidaymakers visiting Thailand, Peru or the Maldives, with people who stayed at home and continued working.
The average blood pressure of those on holiday dropped by six per cent while the workers saw their blood pressure rise by two per cent over the same period.
Researchers said the sleep quality of holidaymakers improved by 17 per cent while that of the non-holidaymakers deteriorated by 14 per cent.
The ability of vacationers to recover from stress – known as the stress-resilience test - improved by 29 per cent. There was a 71 per cent fall in stress resilience scores among workers, researchers said.
Tests showed a fall in blood glucose levels, reducing the risk of diabetes, slimmer waistlines and enhanced mood and energy levels, with the effects sustained for at least two weeks after returning home.
The Holiday Health Experiment was conducted by tour operator Kuoni and Nuffield Health, UK's largest healthcare charity, the report said.
Psychotherapist Christine Webber, who carried out the tests, said blood pressure reductions are important to reduce the chances of stroke and heart attacks, while better sleep is good for the immune system.
"It's apparent from our results that the majority of people feel happier, more rested and much less stressed because of their vacations.
"But, even more importantly, I have discovered that these benefits continue well past the vacation - in fact, for months afterwards," she said.
"For the first time, our clinical results show how holidays helped these couples reduce their blood pressure, improve their sleep and manage their stress levels better.
"These results clearly demonstrate that on holiday our ability to physically cope with stress improves," Dr Lucy Goundry, Nuffield Health, Medical Director, said.