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Fiji Time: 4:17 PM on Tuesday 2 September

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Take a healthy vacation

Harold Koi
Friday, February 01, 2013

In this article, read what experts say about the effects of vacations to your health. The escape from toil may be just the breather the body needs to restore itself. Some of us with hectic jobs in Fiji won't even consider a vacation because it's time constraining, you spend more money and it might be a hassle taking everybody, however www.npr.org says something different.

Whether you spend your free moments playing sports, socialising with friends or reading quietly, research suggests that the more of it there is, the better you feel and the healthier you are.

"It is important to engage in multiple leisure activities, both as a way to enjoy life more, but also to potentially have a benefit on health and be a stress reliever," says Karen Matthews of the University of Pittsburgh's Mind-Body Centre.

The website reports that researchers from the centre surveyed 1,399 participants recruited for four other studies on breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and other conditions. They were asked how often they'd spent the previous month doing something they enjoyed. Leisure, including vacation, Matthews says, contributed to more positive emotions and fewer negative emotions and depression.

People who had more leisure activities "reported more life satisfaction, finding more meaning in life," says Matthews. "They tended to be more religious and spiritual in orientation. They reported having a lot of support from friends and having a large network of friends and family."

Adding that, among the benefits to be found from engaging in multiple activities are lower blood pressure, lower stress hormones and smaller waists.

Probably the best evidence of the effects of vacations can be found in the Framingham Heart Study. Scientists studied more than 12,000 men and followed over nine years to see if there were ways to improve their longevity.

"The more frequent the vacations, the longer the men lived," says Matthews, who analysed the data to assess the benefits of vacations.


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