Benefits of Holidays and Vacations

As a frontline medical practitioner for over 20 years, I have been actively encouraging and motivating my patients, relatives, friends and other people to take holidays and vacations on a regular basis. Except for those people who have serious medical conditions, there are no restrictions to travel and enjoy holidays. Even the elderly, disabled or pregnant women (within 28 weeks of pregnancy) can travel as much as anybody else. The benefits of holidays and vacations are numerous, both short-term and long-term, but most people fail to appreciate the benefits. As a result, only a small percentage of people worldwide travel and harvest the benefits of holidays and vacations. Research has shown that even workers who are offered paid vacations by their organizations do not take advantage of such offers to take some weeks off their work.

In this article, I will briefly highlight some benefits of holidays and vacations.

Longer and healthier life

A recent survey conducted by the State University of New York has shown that people who take holidays regularly every year reduce their risk of early death by about 20 percent. The survey also revealed that those who did not take any holiday in 5 years faced the highest death rate risk, along with higher incidence of heart diseases. This can be explained by the fact that during holidays people are happier, relaxed, carefree, spending more time with family and loved ones, and away from the regular stressing environment. A happy relaxed life increases longevity.

Improvement in mental health

One study conducted by the Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield and published in Wisconsin Medical Journal showed that women who went on frequent vacations had lower susceptibility to depression, tiredness, or tensions and they were more satisfied with their marriages. Women who took rare vacations displayed higher stress levels in their homes, felt more exhausted and tired and slept lesser. It is without doubt that regular holidays will not just unwind people from the stress accumulated during the day to day hectic life in the short-term but also will improve the overall mental and psychological well-being of an individual in the long-term. Many researchers have shown that depression increases the chances of heart disease. Since holidays provide a break from the normal boring routine, they also help in relieving the symptoms of depression.

Revamping of relationships

The always busy, work-obsessed and chronically duty-minded culture of people of modern life has indeed taken a heavy toll not only on our physical and mental health but also on our relationships. People do not have much time to spend with their partners, children or families. As a result, there is disharmony in the family, children are not looked after well and there is increased tension between partners, which has resulted in increased number of separations, divorce and other marital conflicts. Taking regular breaks from work and enjoying holidays and vacations not only revamps the strained and estranged relationships but also renews, revitalizes and strengthens family relationships and bonds.

Improvement in self-confidence

When we travel, we encounter various types of situations and meet different kinds of people. Such encounters improve our self-confidence. It also helps improve our social skills and prepare us for unexpected or unknown.

Creative inspiration through holidaying

When we do the same thing again and again, it becomes monotonous and stereotyped. This is what has happened to us in today’s world. We have become victims of monotony that has gradually crept into our system and destroyed our creative abilities, new thinking processes, and inspirational opportunities. When we travel, we come across new situations and different environments. Such situations can induce and help develop the creativity within us.

Increase in productivity

Many studies have shown that holidays not only motivate people to work better but the relief from the monotony also rejuvenates people, resulting in higher productivity.

Seeking adventure

Holidaying is a time to pump adrenalin for many adventure lovers. This is a chance to make their dream come true and try many daring sports and adventures, such as, bungee jumping, water rafting, surfing, mountaineering and many others. Such adventures give people a sense of achievement and happiness.

Mental and psychological escape

Many people these days view holidaying as a form of mental or psychological escape. The change in atmosphere, climate, scenery, quiet surroundings, slow pace of life, and clean air is regarded by many travelers as pathway to happiness and spirituality.

Improve physical fitness, and lose weight too

Obesity has become a global epidemic. Holidays and vacations can at least induce people to do some form of exercise. They have more time and any form of physical activity (and away from TV and video games!) can help lose weight. If they can continue the same sort of exercises once they are back home, it can at least help people change their habit and lose some weight at the same time. Losing weight not only improves the physical fitness and appearance of a person but also reduces the chances of getting depression, some cancers, heart diseases and other conditions.

In conclusion, holidays and vacations not only bring joy, excitements, fun and break in the usual monotony of life, but they also have far reaching effects in the long-term including improvement in physical and mental wellbeing, longer and happier life, revamping relationships, improving self confidence and productivity, and instilling creative inspiration within us.

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Tips for Exercising During Holidays and Vacations

‘Do I need to exercise while I am on vacations?’ ‘Are vacations and holidays not meant to be fun and carefree?’ ‘Why should I do the same routine workouts on my vacations when I am supposed to be doing other better things?’ These are common questions that come to our minds when we plan our vacations, holidays and other travels. For many people who are serious about their health, doing regular exercises while travelling can sometimes be challenging. But a vacation can be the perfect time to exercise if they are planned well and the traveler makes best use of the available time.

Travelling for hours at a stretch (flying, car, bus, train or cruise) can be tiring and hard on the body. The long hours of sitting, especially in cramped airplanes or cars can cause poor circulation, fatigues and aches and pains. Hence, simple exercises can help you reduce your aches and pains and give you a sense of relaxed feeling.

In this article, I present some tips that can be useful for exercise-conscious travelers when they do not have right place and time to exercise.

In the airplane

If you have to wait long hours in transit, it is a good idea to go for a walk in the terminal. It kills time and at the same time helps burn some calories.Also walk up or down the stairs instead of taking escalator.

Because there is very little room to move, the easiest exercises to do are stretching and isometric exercises. These exercises can be done even on your seat. These include knee raises while being seated, squats, walking up and down the aisle, shoulder shrugs, arm swings, raising arms, and neck stretches. You can do leg exercises by raising them from the ground while seated, using the calf muscles. If you put a weight on your lap and try to raise it, it becomes a harder exercise. Ankle stretches can be done by planting the heels on the ground and raising the toes as high as possible. Rotating each foot in turn also stretches the ankle and helps relieve stiffness of the joint.

Arching the body backwards and forwards is good for your back. The neck can be exercised by moving it gently from side to side, or bending the head forward, than rotating it.
To exercise your hands and arms, squeeze a ball or pair of socks with your hands.
These days many airplanes announce exercise time on their TV on a regular basis. You can follow those exercises as well. These exercises are good for preventing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Walk in the aisle every hour or two. This will relax your back and neck and help circulation.
At your destination

Once you reach your destination, you can do many other exercises like push-ups, squatting, abdominal exercises, and calf raise. Stretching exercises strengthens the joints, muscles and bones and also helps pain of arthritis. Stair climbing is another exercise that strengthens joints, muscles and bones.

In hotel or motel, if there is a gym, make use of the gym facility.
Remember to wear sneakers or carry them in your travel bag. They can be handy as and when you need them and they are good for your feet and back. You can also wear clothing that can double as workout gear.
Walking on the beach is one of the best exercises and burns more calories than walking on the flat ground.Make sure you do not overdo when you start.
Beach volleyball is another exercise that is fun as well as burns calories.Besides, you can involve all members of your group or meet other people and have fun.
Swimming is a very good exercise for all ages. Make best use of the swimming facility in the hotels.
Surfing and snorkeling are also good exercises but may demand more physical fitness than swimming.
Bike ride is another family exercise. You can tour the local area with your family and burn some calories at the same time.
Hiking is a good exercise if you are fit and looking for a bit of adventure and burn more fat at the same time.
Tennis and golf are other games if you have time and you are on leisure trip.
Going for brisk walk in the morning or even shopping are easy to do exercises.
If possible, exercise at least for 20-30 minutes daily.
If you like are looking for a complete package of information on making your holidays a

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