Taking a Vacation Could Legit Save Your Life

As Labor Day approaches, many may already be mourning the end of summer vacation season. After this, it's just fall weddings and winter holidays to break up the daily drudgery of work. Some cardiologists may have just given you a great excuse for a getaway, though. In fact, their advice could be life-changing.

On Tuesday, members of the European Society of Cardiology learned the results of a 40-year study into the stress reduction benefits of taking time off. More than 1,200 "middle-aged male executives" participated, with half receiving periodic written and oral advice to get more exercise, stop smoking, and other generally accepted medical advice. Among those who were offered interventions, "men who took three weeks or less annual vacation had a 37 percent greater chance of dying [in a three-decade period] than those who took more than three weeks," according to a press release.

"Don't think having an otherwise healthy lifestyle will compensate for working too hard and not taking holidays," said author Timo Strandberg of the University of Helsinki.

The data may seem extreme in part because it's so old: Participants were born between 1919 and 1934, and while we're all accustomed to preventive medicine now, it wasn't such a widespread practice back in the day. But given how badly we crave digital detoxes and horizon-broadening gap years, we're not much better about handling stress. When it comes to time and funds, you can afford a getaway that's both affordable and ethical. Your future self will really thank you for it.