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Why Taking a Holiday Will Boost Your Health

Discover hidden health benefits of holidays and travel

Always wonder why you feel so well when you return from your summer holiday? Scientists have finally found the answer. According to research conducted in a joint proposal from experts at the Icahn School of Medicine, University of California and Harvard taking a holiday for just six days will trigger genetic changes in your biological make-up:

  • these changes will lower your stress levels,
  • provide a welcome boost to your immune system
  • and lower your overall levels of the proteins that are linked to dementia and depression.

Not only do these benefits kick in during your time away, the researchers found that they were still apparent up to one month later, showing that the more time you spend on holiday, the better your levels of overall health will be!

Hiking holiday in the mountains
Holidays offer many immediate health benefits, as well as some hidden benefits that
kick in after you're back and last long after you've been on holidays.

The Health Benefits of Holidays

Going on holiday gives you an opportunity to take a step back from your busy lifestyle and remove yourself from any workplace and social stress, so it is logical that the more you can place yourself in a relaxing situation, such as being on holiday, the better you will feel.

If you suffer from depression, are feeling stressed and anxious, or have any other significant health condition that is causing you mental and physical distress then taking the time out to go on holiday could well help you to see a dramatic improvement in your overall wellbeing. A holiday will help to boost the production of white blood cells within your body, ultimately giving your immune system a medium-term turbo boost!

If you do choose to get away, and use your holiday as a form of therapy, it is important to ensure that you are protected by an adequate level of travel insurance which will cover your condition before you leave the country though: whilst it’s unlikely that anything will go wrong, it’s better to be safe than sorry! White blood cells are essential for controlling the pain associated with auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Based on this research, prescribing a holiday to sufferers of these conditions (as well as individuals who are struggling with depression and stressed out office workers) could help to ease the pain of difficult symptoms, speed up recovery times, and even boost the effects of conventional drug treatments designed to deal with infection.

Boost Your Holiday’s Healing Potential

If you want to boost the healing and wellbeing potential of your holiday then a separate but complimentary study suggests that there are many additional benefits of incorporating meditation into your trip. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of California and analysed 94 healthy women aged between 30 and 60 years old who were invited to spend six days staying at a meditation retreat. Have of the participants were told to simply relax for six days, whilst the other half were placed on a scheduled programme of yoga, meditation, and other self-reflection exercises.

Meditation provides many health benefits
Health benefits of meditation are well known, whose effects can be compounded if you
include meditation and exercise as part of your holiday break.

The results of the study found that those women who were encouraged to meditate and exercise as part of their vacation had significant changes in their molecular network patterns after the week at the resort, compared with both the other group in the programme and when compared to their pre-vacation biology. Their immune systems were also found to be functioning much more efficiently as much as 10 months after the study was completed.

Other proven benefits of taking a holiday (either incorporating meditation or simply for relaxation purposes) are that it can improve your quality of sleep, helping you to re-regulate your sleep and develop healthier sleep patterns, lower your blood pressure, and can even help you to lose weight (provided you don’t take advantage of the all-inclusive, all you can eat buffet as part of your trip, of course!) These studies shows that both meditation and vacation time and have a measurable and quantifiable impact on overall physical and mental health. What is not yet known is whether this same effects can be found when individuals choose to take their vacations at home rather than abroad: will staycations also yield physical and psychological benefits?

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