Plan a summer vacation — for your health!

Summer is here. Have you planned a vacation yet? You may want to act on that question and reap the associated physical and mental health benefits. These include lowering blood pressure and a thinning waistline, according to npr.com. A Marshfield Clinic study found women who take vacations are less likely to become tense, depressed or tired — and are more satisfied with their marriages. Studies also found men who enjoy vacations live longer and have healthier relationships.

Life is complicated, messy and stressful. If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, maybe it’s time to recharge your batteries. Expedia’s 2014 Vacation Deprivation Study showed 54 percent of Americans feel vacation-deprived and regularly don’t use all of their allotted vacation days. Gallop researchers found that even when workers are physically present they were often checked out mentally. Whatever your occupation, there are several physical and mental health gifts from enjoying a vacation: a change of venue coupled with periods of going unplugged (from computers and phones, etc.) are key ingredients in improving peak work performance; the well-rested mind can improve critical problem-solving abilities, and workers who take vacations often get their best ideas while on break; Harvard researchers found resting the brain not only leads to improving our work quantity, but it also increases the quality of the work; and relaxation during a vacation can lessen job burnout.

International travel can be very educational, but there are vacation options right here in Southern California. You can travel less than 60 miles in almost any direction and find a vacation paradise for any budget. Try a road trip and call up the adventurous spirit that resides deep in each of us. By returning to a place of timelessness and jumping through waves, you open yourself to life’s wonders. The warmth of the sun, long summer nights, and grass/sand under your feet are calling you. You owe it to your health. What are you waiting for?

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