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Whether its relaxing on a beach in Crete, hiking the Psiloritis Mountain or camping to enjoy sleeping surrounded by nature, holidays are something we all look forward to. And now a study has found getting out of the office or away from the stress of home is good for our hearts.
Scientists discovered the more vacations a person takes over a year, the less likely they are to develop metabolic syndrome. This is the medical term for a cluster of conditions, such as hypertension and high cholesterol, that together raise your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. The study also found that for every holiday a person takes, their risk of metabolic syndrome goes down by a quarter
The research was carried out by Syracuse University, New York. What they found is that people who vacation more frequently in the past 12 months have a lowered risk for metabolic syndrome and metabolic symptoms. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease. If you have more of them you are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease. This is important because we are actually seeing a reduction in the risk for cardiovascular disease the more vacationing a person does. Because metabolic symptoms are modifiable, it means they can change or be eliminated. Metabolic syndrome is made up of high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as excessive fat around the waist.
The odds of meeting the syndrome's criteria was 16 per cent among those who took five vacations a year. This went up to 46.7 per cent for those who took no holidays. And for every additional vacation they took, their risk of metabolic syndrome decreased by 24 per cent.
WHAT IS METABOLIC SYNDROME?
Metabolic syndrome is a group of avoidable health issues which combine to raise a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease or having a stroke.
Someone may be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome if they have three or more of the following problems:
- - A waist size of 37 inches (94cm) or more for men or 31.5 inches (80cm) for women
- - High levels of fat in the blood and low levels of 'good' cholesterol
- - Blood pressure which is consistently 140/90mmHg or higher (120/80 is the upper end of normal)
- - An inability to control blood sugar levels (insulin resistance)
- - An increased risk of developing blood clots or inflammation
Metabolic syndrome tends to be caused by a lack of exercise or physical activity or a poor diet.