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A vacation is just what the doctor ordered

A study shows that folks who used their vacation time had lower risk factor of cardiovascular disease.

Its summer and that means vacation time. 

Are you one of those who leaves vacation days on the table or do you take them all? 

Researchers from Syracuse University found that people who used their vacation time over the course of a year had a lower number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

People generally feel more rejuvenated after getting away. 

However, a 2018 report by the U.S. Travel Association showed that about 50% of American employees do not use all of the vacation days. 

Medical evidence now shows that taking a vacation may significantly reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and symptoms.

To be clear, the syndrome is not a specific condition but it groups together a set of risk factors that have been linked to a higher chance of developing cardiovascular disease and heart and type two diabetes.

These risk factors include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, body fat around the waist, and high cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association a doctor will often consider metabolic syndrome if a person has at least three of the following five symptoms / risk factors.

Researchers from Syracuse University studied a group of sixty three full- time healthy workers. These adults were eligible for paid vacation over the course of one year.

These participants took approximately five vacations and used about two weeks of their paid vacation days.

The research that was recently published in the Journal Psychology and Health found that people who went on vacations more frequently in the past 12 months have a 24% lower risk for metabolic syndrome and a lesser number of metabolic symptoms. Meaning In other words, they had less risk for cardiovascular disease. 

According to the study this is an important finding because the metabolic risk factors are modifiable, they can change.

For example if someone is doing more vacationing, they can decrease their risk for cardiovascular disease by reducing these symptoms.

Bryce Hruska, an assistant professor of public health at Syracuse University's Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics and an author of the study says they are still learning what it is about vacations that make them beneficial for heart health, but at this point, what they do know that it is important for people to use the vacation time that is available to them.

In light of this, researchers say the next step would be to determine if there is another way to get these health benefits.

It is important to point out that taking a vacation can be expensive and sometimes people may not have the budget or time. According to The study authors , this research represents the first empirical comparison of home and away vacations and their relationship to physical health outcomes.

For many people getting away may mean un-plugging from the internet and social media, putting down the phone and instead spend some time in nature or doing things we enjoy.

Some other ways you can make your weekend or day off stress free or feel like a vacation get -away , could include being a tourist in your own town , trying a new restaurant or park, going for a long walk or bike ride, create a spa-like environment in your own bedroom.

The study stated that the US is the only industrial nation that does not guarantee paid vacation time to its workers. If circumstances are preventing you from taking an extended amount of time away , this research shows a few long weekends here and there may be the remedy.

Links for the study can be found here and here.