If you think the key to a long and happy life is daily exercise, a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight – think again! New research shows that it is holidays that make us live longer, and there’s 40-years-worth of evidence to back it up!
Recently published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, the Helsinki Businessmen Study began back in 1974 when over 1,200 middle-aged men born between 1919 and 1934 were recruited by doctors at Helsinki University to participate in a lifestyle study.
Half the group were given written advice every four months telling them what to eat, how to achieve a healthy weight, what aerobic activity they should be doing, and how to stop smoking. They were also prescribed drugs to lower blood pressure and other complaints. The other half of the group were left to their own devices.
Surprisingly, those given lifestyle advice and drugs were found to be more likely to die young than those who were not, quite simply because following such rules raised their anxiety levels. Stress, it seems, is the key factor in our demise, and it cannot be treated with a healthy diet and exercise, but a holiday could just do the trick!
Lead research professor Timo Strandberg said, “Don’t think having an otherwise healthy lifestyle will compensate for working too hard and not taking holidays” he continued, “Men with shorter vacations worked more and slept less than those who took longer vacations”, before conceding that, “Vacations can be a good way to relive stress”.
So, there you have it, straight from the horses mouth and supported with over 40 years of evidence! Ditch the salad, pour a glass of wine, and book your next overseas adventure – holidays are good for you – it’s a fact!