Time to book your next holiday? Less than three weeks annual leave shortens life expectancy

Taking time off could be the key to living longer [Photo: Getty]

You may have just got back from your summer holiday (hello holiday blues!), or you may actually be reading this from your sun lounger, but either way its time to start thinking about booking next year’s annual break.

And you better make it a long one. Three weeks long to be precise.

That’s because new research has revealed that people who took fewer than three weeks of annual leave were a third more likely to die young than those who took more time off.

While we might think that eating more healthily, exercising regularly could contribute to living a longer life, researchers revealed that there is no substitute for time off when it comes to relieving stress and prolonging life.

The 40-year study, focussed on 1,222 middle-aged men born between 1919 and 1934 who were all at risk of heart disease, due to factors such as high blood pressure, smoking or being overweight.

Half were given instructions to exercise, eat sensibly, achieve a healthy weight and stop smoking. The others were given no extra advice.

Surprisingly the results, presented at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Munich, revealed that those given the regular advice were more likely to die young.

Experts suggested this could be because they may have suffered added stress to trying to live a healthy lifestyle.

Commenting on the findings Professor Timo Strandberg, of the University of Helsinki, Finland said: “Don’t think having an otherwise healthy lifestyle will compensate for working too hard and not taking holidays.

“Vacations can be a good way to relieve stress.”

Time to book your next holiday? [Photo: Getty]

He went on to add: “The harm caused by the intensive lifestyle regime was concentrated in a subgroup of men with shorter yearly vacation time.

“In our study, men with shorter vacations worked more and slept less than those who took longer vacations.

“This stressful lifestyle may have overruled any benefit of the intervention. We think the intervention itself may also have had an adverse psychological effect on these men by adding stress to their lives.”

According to Gov.UK, almost all full-time workers are entitled to at least 28 days’ paid holiday per year, the equivalent of 5.6 weeks.

Taking time off isn’t the only secret to living a longer life. Earlier this year David Hockney revealed he believes washing your hands and cleaning your teeth could be the key to a longer life. 

While last year a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine revealed that besides making us feel a little wired, drinking three cups of coffee a day could help us live longer too.

So, got that? Brush your teeth, wash your hands, make yourself a cup of the brown stuff and book yourself a holiday.

We’ve totally got this!

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