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Reduce stress: Holidays can extend life
Vacation not only makes you happy and healthy, it can also help you to extend your life. This is the result of a long-term study that has now been presented at the European Cardiology Congress. However, the vacation should be long enough.
Simple health measures
Quitting smoking, drinking, losing a few pounds, eating more balanced, avoiding stress, doing more sports: with such simple rules you can significantly extend your life. A study has now shown that there is something else that can significantly increase life expectancy: going on vacation.
Treat yourself to a break every now and then
Workplace stress and long working hours make us sick.
Therefore, you should always treat yourself to a break and use your vacation entitlement.
Those who go on vacation can not only relax, but may also extend their lives.
This is shown by a study that has now been presented at the European Cardiology Congress in Munich.
Not balancing workload by healthy lifestyle alone
"Do not think that you can compensate for the stress of working too hard with a healthy lifestyle without going on vacation," said study director Professor Timo Strandberg from the University of Helsinki (Finland). "Vacation can be a great way to relieve stress."
According to a release published in the EurekAlert! Magazine, the study included 1,222 middle-aged male managers born between 1919 and 1934 and included in the Helsinki Businessmen Studies in 1974 and 1975.
The participants had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, increased triglycerides, glucose intolerance, obesity).
The subjects were divided into two approximately large groups. While the control group participants did not change their lifestyle, the others received health advice every four months.
For example, they were encouraged to play sports, eat healthy, achieve a healthy weight and quit smoking.
If the health advice alone was not effective, the men also received medication that was recommended at that time to lower blood pressure, as well as medication for increased blood lipid levels.
40-year investigation period
It was found that the risk of cardiovascular diseases in the intervention group was 46 percent lower compared to the control group by the end of the study.
Nevertheless, the researchers found that at the 15-year follow-up in 1989, there were significantly more deaths in the intervention group than in the control group.
How that could be was now explained at the Munich Congress. The results are also published in the "Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging".
According to the scientists, the investigation period was extended to 40 years (until 2014). In addition, previously unreported basic data on working hours, sleep and vacation were analyzed.
The authors found that the death rate in the intervention group was consistently higher than in the control group until 2004. After that, the death rates were the same in both groups.
According to the researchers, one factor seemed to have been decisive for the higher mortality in the first group: the number of vacation days taken each year.
Take more than three weeks off
As the authors report, shorter vacations were associated with a higher number of deaths in the intervention group.
In the intervention group, men who took three weeks or less of annual leave were 37 percent more likely to die from 1974 to 2004 than those who had more than three weeks off.
The vacation time had no impact on the risk of death in the control group.
"In our study, men with shorter vacations worked more and slept less than those with longer vacations," said Professor Strandberg.
“This stressful lifestyle could have helped to reverse the positive effects of health intervention. Even the intervention itself may have had a negative psychological impact on these men because it put an additional strain on their lives. ”
Stress reduction to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases
Strandberg also emphasized that coping with stress was not yet an integral part of preventive medicine in the 1970s, but is now recommended for people with or at risk of cardiovascular diseases.
“Our results do not suggest that health education is harmful. Rather, they suggest that stress reduction is an integral part of programs to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, ”said Professor Strandberg.
"Health counseling should be combined sensibly with modern drug treatment in order to avoid cardiovascular diseases in people at high risk." (Ad)