Having a healthy lifestyle is not enough to live long. The secret of longevity also lies in knowing how to cut yourself off from work while taking a vacation.
This is good news for everyone. Holidays are good for your health and it's science that says it. According to a Finnish study presented this summer in Munich (Germany) at the Congress of the European Society of Cardiology (SEC), regularly taking time off to cut work stress could increase longevity.
To reach these conclusions, researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland will have worked on the subject for 40 years. From 1974 and 1975, they followed 1,222 men born between 1919 and 1934. Among these participants, all had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease (smoker, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, glucose intolerance, overweight ... ).
At the beginning of the study, half of the participants were in one control group and the other in an intervention group. For five years, he was given oral and written advice every four months to exercise, eat healthy, achieve a healthy weight, and stop smoking. And when that was not enough, participants were also given drugs to reduce blood pressure and lipid levels. During this time, the men of the first group lived their lives without any intervention on the part of scientists.
Shorter holidays associated with a higher mortality rate
At the end of the follow-up, the researchers noted a risk of cardiovascular disease reduced by 46% among volunteers in the intervention group compared to the others. However, fifteen years later, the trend reversed: they noted more deaths in the intervention group than in the control group. And this until 2004. From then until the end of the study in 2014, the mortality rate was the same in both groups.
Thus, a very healthy lifestyle does not compensate for the lack of rest, say the researchers. "Holidays can be a great way to relieve stress," says Professor Timo Strandberg, who presented the study to the SEC Congress.
In the intervention group, researchers noted that shorter vacations were associated with a higher mortality rate: between 1997 and 2004, men who had taken three weeks or less of annual vacations had 37% more likely to die than those who had taken more than three weeks of leave.
The intervention itself may have added stress to participants
"The harm caused by a hectic pace of life was concentrated in a small group of men who took short vacations.These men worked more and slept less than those who took longer holidays.This stressful lifestyle may have canceled We also believe that the intervention itself could have had an adverse psychological effect on these men, adding stress to their lives, "explains Professor Strandberg.
But if stress management was not discussed in medicine in the 1970s, doctors are now very careful as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. What's more, more effective drugs are now available to lower lipid levels and blood pressure, he recalls. And to conclude: "Our results in no way indicate that health prevention is harmful, rather they suggest that stress reduction is essential in programs aimed at reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease." Lifestyle tips should be combined modern treatments to prevent cardiovascular attacks in high-risk individuals. "
Scientists regularly make the link between stress and life expectancy. In August, a study conducted by the University of Minnesota (USA), for example, showed that mice subjected to more social stress than the others lived shorter. Animals abused by others had higher blood glucose levels and were overweight. As a result, they suffered from more cardiovascular disease. "Thus, the social stress would cause in the mouse an accelerated aging of the organs, the cardiovascular system, the whole associated with a bad health", concluded thus the researchers calling to take time for oneself and to relax daily to live longer .