Can a Holiday Help You Live Longer?

01/08/2014 16:54 BST | Updated 30/09/2014 10:59 BST

Finally, the perfect excuse we all need to escape on holiday more often - scientific research now says they are good for our health! As co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel, I find that sometimes a break away from my everyday routine can be exactly what the doctor ordered. Whether boosting our happiness, looking after our ticker or inspiring us to make healthy lifestyle changes, the right choice of holiday can help us to live longer.

With holidays becoming an increasingly important factor in leading a healthy lifestyle, more of us are choosing wellness escapes for a healthy glow that long outlasts our quickly fading tan. So when the relentless rat-race is getting you down and a fly-and-flop holiday just doesn't cut it, a healthy holiday presents the perfect solution. Increasingly fewer people want to spend their entire holiday lazing by a pool, competing for sunbeds with first-light towel runs. For me, sunrise yoga classes, rejuvenating spa treatments and well-being activities are much more appealing (and my body loves me better for it).

So get your holiday request forms at the ready as I let you in on the some of the secrets to how holidays can help us live longer.

Because I'm Happy

I am a great believer in the power of the holiday feel good factor to improve our future health and now tried and tested research is supporting the theory that happy people do live longer.

Our emotional well-being can influence a number of aspects in our daily lives, including our ability to recover from stress, quality of sleep and even weight-loss. According to Australian research, holidays could even soon be prescribed as an aid in beating depression. However, a fly-and-flop holiday lounging on the beach where our minds are free to return to the worries of home may not be the best solution to banishing emotional strains.

Holidays can be a great opportunity to boost happiness hormone serotonin through meaningful experiences, whether embarking on a spiritual journey on a meditation retreat or gaining a new skill during a learning holiday.

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Paul relaxing with meditation at Kamalaya in Thailand

Healthy Heart, Healthy You

Having the free-time to concentrate on my fitness and give my number-one organ a work out is a great reward of going on a healthy holiday. I love to get my heart-pumping, whether I'm exploring my new surroundings on a hike or by bike, taking a TRX class in the fitness centre or a kickboxing lesson on the beach.

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A heart-pumping group boxing class at 38 Degrees North in Ibiza

As well as improving my physical health (both inside and out), a breakaway also allows me to look after my heart through a much needed dose of relaxation. Escaping the stresses and strains of modern lifestyles can help to lower blood pressure and reduce the production of fat-storage hormone cortisol, decreasing the risk of diabetes, strokes and heart disease.

Our hearts take a few knocks throughout our lives and if a healthy holiday gives me the opportunity to live heart healthy and gain a longer life, I'm all for it.

A Chance to Change

When stuck in a rut of unhealthy habits a holiday away can give us the perspective we need to make changes to our hectic lifestyles back home. In a report by WTW, 40% of those surveyed were found to have made a life-changing decision whilst on holiday.

A detox break or boot camp can be a great weight-loss kick-start, whilst other wellness holidays can offer a gentler initiation in to living a healthier lifestyle and making changes to improve our lives long-term. Take the time to invest in yourself, whether having your diet reviewed during a nutritionist consultation or learning a new repertoire of guilt-free recipes you can recreate at home during a healthy cooking lesson.

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Make a change with a healthy cooking lesson

To live longer, we need to start living better. So, if the mutterings of "I need a break" are doing the office rounds, plan a healthy holiday knowing that the reward is not only an escape but the chance to live life longer.

(All images supplied by Health and Fitness Travel)