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Hit the Road

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Taking annual vacations really is good for you.

Get Out of Town

Ask your doctor: It appears that going on vacation may not be an icing-on-the-cake type of indulgence – it may actually be necessary for good health.

In a powerful study published in the journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers Karen Matthews and Brooks Gump studied a group of men who were at high risk for heart disease, finding that the men who took regular annual vacations had a lower risk of death during the study period than did those men who passed on their time off. Taking annual vacations was associated with a 30% reduction in cardiovascular risk. That’s certainly something to ponder poolside.

Take a Break, Reduce Your Stress

It is well known that stress is a risk factor for many diseases. Experts think that vacations may protect health by reducing stress. In their study, Matthews and Gump found that vacations were more protective against death from coronary heart disease – known to be influenced by stress – than diseases such as cancer.

Matthews and Gump note that much more research is needed to find the exact mechanisms behind the phenomenon, but common sense does point to some big clues. Spending quality time with family and friends, taking time to exercise and pursue enjoyable hobbies, and simply catching up on much-needed sleep are certain to be some the usual suspects. No need to wait for the particulars to surface, though. Start planning that three-week Mediterranean cruise today. Okay, maybe start with a quick weekend getaway, or even a “staycation” at the homestead. Just a little down time to keep your heart – and spirit – happy and strong. Doctor’s orders.

 Take a mini-vacation right at your desk.

Click here to de-stress in minutes with a guided meditation from Deepak Chopra, part of our 21-Day Meditation Challenge: Perfect Health.

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