Your Heart on Vacation; When Was Your Last One?

Vacations are of critical importance and are not merely a luxury.  They are a requirement.  So when was YOUR last vacation?

I sit here writing this particular post from the airport in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, awaiting my flight home from a week long vacation.  So why is this relevant?

Besides the blog articles and eBooks, I have a busy chiropractic office in Mesa, AZ that takes up a full day.  A typical week ranges anywhere from 50-80 hours.  As a night owl, a typical day ends around midnight or 1 AM when I finish a blog post for the following day (you can usually tell how late I was up writing based on how much I rant..).

I have many patients on salary who put in similar hours and any self-employed person is putting in these hours or more.  And then there are the “40 hourers” who work incredibly hard during the hours they are at work.

The stress level of living a life at this pace is legendary.

This is definitely not the first time I have written about stress and how much it destroys your digestion and your health.  Tools like exercise and meditation are critical to mitigating the havoc that stress wreaks in your life.

Besides these everyday tools, never, ever forget the power of a vacation.  I know full well how important it is for me to disconnect (well—almost disconnect…) from technology and give my mind and body a break.

For me, this week break on the beach (not to mention some high speed ziplining and fantastic fresh Mexican seafood) has done some serious recharging and I’m ready for the office again on Monday.  That is, of course, if the rest of my team didn’t blow it up in my absence.

I try to vacation 3-4 times per year (I could take more, but my boss refuses to pay me for my time off despite how much I complain, gripe and threaten) with a few short weekend trips thrown in for good measure.  But it’s truly the technology poor vacations that suit me the best.

So why does any of this matter?  To get to the point, this particular study looked at the relationship between taking vacations and the risk of both heart disease and death in a large group of middle aged men.  Here’s what they found:

  • Those who took more annual vacations were 17% less likely to die from any cause.
  • Specifically, the risk of dying from a heart attack was 29% lower.
  • There was a hefty 32% lower risk of being diagnosed with heart disease or suffering from a heart attack.

These are some serious numbers.  And let’s face it, taking a vacation is an intervention most people WANT to do, seemingly unlike a healthy diet and exercise.  Of course, money is an issue for many.

I would contend that money is not an issue.  Rather, it is an issue of spending priorities.  Cancel cable and drop Starbucks and you just bought a family vacation.  Smoker?  Quit and go on a cruise for two weeks.

So when was YOUR last vacation?

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.