The positive impact of holidays on health has been measured in a new study.

The Holiday Health Experiment was conducted by Kuoni and Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity between summer and autumn 2012, revealing how holidays can help us live longer. 

The study set out to establish whether the much-discussed ‘feel good factor’ generated by holidays is based on physical and psychological fact.

Participants were divided into a travel group and a non-travel group and all had stress-resilience testing and a 360+ Health Assessment by Nuffield Health, plus psychotherapeutic tests. The experiment found that those who took part benefited from lower blood pressure, improved sleep quality and improved stress management – with the effects continuing for at least two weeks after returning home.

Highlights of the findings included the average blood pressure of the holidaymakers dropped by 6% while the average of the non-holidaymakers went up over the same period by 2%; the sleep quality of the holidaymakers improved while that of the non-holidaymakers deteriorated - holidaymakers saw a 17% improvement while the average for non-holidaymakers reduced by 14%; and the ability to recover from stress (known as the stress-resilience test) saw an average improvement of 29% among holidaymakers, compared to a 71% fall in stress resilience scores among the non-holidaymakers.

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