Going on vacation or spending days off at home can reduce your risk for developing diabetes.

More about vacation time and diabetes

What is metabolic syndrome? It is the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke. Specific risk factors include a large waistline, high triglyceride level, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. In fact, your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke increases with the number of these risk factors.

This study showed that workers in the United States only use half of their paid holiday and therefore might be missing out on opportunities to improve overall well-being and lower depression. Researchers measured adult participants’ waist circumference, blood pressure, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol and fasting blood glucose. Of the participants who took more frequent vacation days, only 21% met the criteria for metabolic syndrome, which is lower than the 35% prevalence in the United States overall.

Researchers also found that going on vacation does not necessarily have to include traveling to a new place. In fact, spending days off at home was linked to an even greater reduced risk for metabolic syndrome. We know that a high stress level is a risk factor for diabetes, so the relaxing quality of vacations, or “staycations,” can help by reducing your stress level enough to protect you from developing some of these risk factors for metabolic syndrome.

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