Our friends at Healthspan have been looking into the benefits of getting away:
May and its endless bank holidays may seem like a distant memory, but if you’re lucky enough to have already booked in for a high season holiday you’re likely sat twiddling your thumbs as the departure date ebbs closer and closer. For the rest of us who have failed to get organised and do so, though, we could be missing out on a whole host of health benefits.
Holidaying is healthy
According to the Icahn School of Medicine, the University of California and Harvard, just six days away triggers genetic changes that dampen stress, boost the immune system and lower levels of proteins linked to depression and dementia.
A holiday isn’t just a whole lot of fun – it’s a healthy habit and one we shouldn’t be shying away from like we currently are – recent research by the company Airtours shows 40% of Brits don’t use their full holiday allowance.
This might seem surprising to some – the UK statutory minimum of paid leave of 28 days including bank holidays never seems to last as long as you’d like it to – but the current British workplace means a lot of staff feel the pressure when it comes to taking time off. Workers are far too busy trying to claw their way up the ladder despite the fact that a holiday could actually leave them feeling more refreshed and a lot more productive than they were prior to having one.
Britons work an average of 1,674 hours per year. Germans work just 1,371 but our level of productivity per hour is 26.7% lower than theirs. So they work less but produce more, says The Sunday Times. Achieving a work/life balance isn’t just about leaving enough room for life aspects aside from work, it’s about ensuring wellbeing for optimum productivity at work, too.
How does Britain compare when it comes to paid holiday leave?
As if all this talk of holidays isn’t enough, here’s a comparative list of some of the most generous countries across the globe when it comes to statutory, annual paid leave and all-important bank holidays.
In 2008 Finland even made the headlines after a parliament member put forward a bill to grant workers an extra week off for a ‘love vacation’ in an attempt to reduce the country’s high divorce rates.
And if none of those fulfil your dream holiday quota, try Mauritius, which is way up there with 15 public holidays in addition to your 20 days of leave.
My 13-year-old son Charlie* recently completed his 80th parkrun. It is now four years since we started our Saturday ‘Dad and Son’ routine, and Charlie’s physical strength, stamina and all-round sporting confidence have been thoroughly transformed thanks to parkrun. When Charlie was born there was speculation about all manner of nasty diseases, chief among them being…
Imagine running 100k in a day. Well, seasoned parkrunner Harriet Frost did more than imagine it; she completed the mammoth distance in just 14 hours as part of our Running Down Dementia challenge! The run, which saw Harriet tackle 100k across the North Wessex Downs in Oxfordshire from Lewknor to the Thames crossing at…