Take a vacation live longer

September 25, 2009
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, CANADA, Sept 25 – Taking time off could lengthen your life, says a new study by European researchers.
Scientists from the Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Greece investigated why mortality rates in Mediterranean countries like France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus tend to drop in September, one month after the summer vacation period.

Increased amounts of vitamin D from exposure to the sun, combined with the therapeutic and stress-relieving effects of taking time off are thought to be responsible, according to the report.

According to official statistics, in northern European countries and in North America, August is typically the month with the lowest deaths, and in Japan it is in July. In antipodean countries like Australia, the month with the lowest death rates is March, which is the southern hemisphere equivalent of September, and in New Zealand it’s in February.

"We speculate that another factor accounting for the lower mortality observed in September in the Mediterranean countries is the preceding summer vacation, " the researchers wrote.

Previous research has shown that in addition to helping people live longer because of decreased rates of medical problems such as heart attacks, taking vacations can improve mental health; provides a time to revitalize important but often neglected relationships; restores self-confidence; increases productivity; prevents work burn-out and can be inspiring and foster creativity because of the change in environment.

The study was published September 21 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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