Ask Dr. Nandi: Taking a vacation can have positive health benefits

Posted at 10:35 AM, Jun 25, 2019

Summer is vacation season for many Michiganders. And thanks to science, we have another incentive to step away from our busy work lives. New research finds getting away can be beneficial for our hearts.

Researchers from Syracuse University found that vacations can actually lower the risk for metabolic symptoms - and this then lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease.

They came to this conclusion after analyzing blood and vacationing habits from roughly 60 people. The participants averaged five trips over 12 months, taking about 2 weeks off work. And the more vacation that was taken, the more positive results that were seen.

Researchers found that for each additional vacation, the risk for metabolic syndrome was lowered by nearly a quarter.

Metabolic syndrome is basically a group of risk factors that together, raise your risk of heart disease and stroke. So things like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess abdominal fat around your waist, and unhealthy cholesterol or triglyceride levels. And the more of these you have, the higher your risk.

The good news is that these metabolic symptoms are modifiable, so you can do something about them. You can actually lower your risk by doing things like losing weight, getting regular exercise, and eating a heart-healthy diet.

It’s also important to work with your doctor to monitor and manage your blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels.

The researchers are urging folks to take their vacation days. Because less than half of full-time employees take off all of the time that they are allowed.

Now heart disease is still the leading cause of death for both men and women, with 1 in 4 people dying from it every year. So please consider taking your vacation time and getting away from your busy lives if you can. It certainly will benefit your heart in the long run.