From The Times of London
My suitcase is on the bed, I’ve printed the boarding passes and even remembered the travel plug. I may be burdened by a year’s aggregate of fatigue and stress, but that’s OK, I am finally heading off on my summer holiday. It’s really not the moment to spot a report that says, badly handled, my two weeks in Greece might be the death of me.
According to a study by Liverpool University, if you’re middle-aged, and even if you’re reasonably active day to day, a “holiday” doing nothing may be ill-advised. The study conducted by Dan Cuthbertson, an honorary consultant at the university’s Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, examined the effects of two weeks’ relaxation on 45 healthy men and women with previously good metabolic health. They had all been used to walking an average 10,000 steps a day or more, but for the study were asked to limit their steps to less than 2,000 a day and to sit for up to three and a half hours a day longer than usual.
Overall, while younger participants recovered reasonably quickly, the inactivity in older people led to a slowing of their metabolism. Also, blood sugar and “bad” cholesterol levels increased while insulin sensitivity decreased. These are contributory factors to type 2 diabetes. What’s more, muscle mass diminished and fat deposits increased, especially around the abdomen, a contributory factor to heart disease.
“The public health message is certainly not ‘don’t go on holiday’,” says Cuthbertson. “But it’s that, especially for the older demographic, as you get older there is a constellation of physiological reasons that make it harder to win your health and fitness back.”
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“No one’s saying holiday has to become a boot camp,” says Cuthbertson. “In fact exercise should feel good physically and mentally. Go for a daily swim and see if you can add a couple of lengths each day.” The doctor, who is no slouch himself — he has run 20 marathons and 200 half-marathons — follows his own orders. “On holiday in Scotland recently I did a park run, which is a really good public health initiative.”
Inactivity on holiday is not the only holiday health pitfall. Scientists and researchers now believe that the sudden decompression that holidaymakers go through when they switch from work to holiday mode can play havoc with their wellbeing. Ever got your keys to the villa, opened the shutters and admired the pool only to retire to bed feeling ill? You may have succumbed to a phenomenon that Ad Vingerhoets, a professor of clinical psychology from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, has called “leisure sickness”. Its symptoms include headache, insomnia, depression and anxiety, or flu-like symptoms.
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“The statistics suggest it’s growing,” she says. “Highly stressed people or workaholics tend to suffer holiday burn-out most. They’re at optimum stress completing tasks before the holiday and then they may suffer an immune-system crash. But the surprising thing is the group we call ‘inactives’ who enjoy a lot of unconditional leisure time on a day-to-day basis, they suffer leisure sickness too. Too much freedom is not good.”
Link to the rest at The Times of London
At this point in his life, PG has a number of grandchildren who are often involved in the vacations he and Mrs. PG take from time to time. The grandchildren are the perfect antidote to the problems of too much inactivity and relaxation during vacation. Casa PG and its many keyboards are sometimes a welcome respite from vacations.
Here is approximately 3 seconds from a recent visit from PG offspring.
You might not be too impressed by this young man’s diving skills, but it does qualify as a new yardstick for activity. PG will call it an Offspring Activity Event (OAE).
Onlookers are anything but relaxed. For one thing, it is desirable for this type of OAE to end with the offspring coming back to the surface of the water. Generally, one or more adult vacationers are observing to make certain this happens within a reasonable period of time.
PG purposely chose a record of one of the simpler OAE’s during a vacation. If you modify this OAE slightly to have it end with Offspring 1 landing on Offspring 2 who is already in the pool, you’ll be looking at a multi-OAE situation which will helpfully prevent adults from remaining completely relaxed to the detriment of their health per the OP.
A bit of simple math demonstrates why visits with Offspring are not appropriately grouped with problems triggered by too much inactivity and relaxation. We will set aside multi-OAE to simplify calculations.
If you start with your basic 3-second OAE, you’ll see this turns into 1,200 OAE’s per hour. Now, each OAE is not a disaster, but nearby adults tend to subconsciously monitor nearby OAE’s as a fundamental part of their disaster preparedness regime. You don’t want an OAE involving a screwdriver and a younger sibling’s eye to catch you napping.
Taking the 1,200 OAE’s per hour further, indisputable mathematics says there will be 28,800 OAE’s per day and 201,600 events per week.
Now, persnickety doubters might claim that sleeping children do not generate 1,200 OAE’s per hour. This may be true in a strict sense, but that takes us into the realm of OAE severity ratings.
Without getting into complex equations, we will simply observe that Offspring Activity Events that occur in the middle of the night tend to be more severe than daylight OAE’s. Offspring Vomiting in bed at 1:00 AM will certainly protect adults from experiencing too much vacation relaxation more than subconscious observation of Offspring Activity during the day at a swimming pool.
The mathematics underlying the science of Offspring Activity Events becomes exponentially more complex if you assume there is more than one Offspring engaging in activities simultaneously. Five Offspring will generate over one million OAE’s during a week with a huge increase in multi-intersectional OAE events.
And, of course, for a small number of adults, conscientious OAE monitoring of more than one Offspring at a time is the best protection because it reduces any possibility of relaxation during a vacation to a bare minimum.
This discussion will not delve into the increased burden of Offspring Justice Determinations layered on top of basic OAE observational and management tasks when one Offspring’s OAE improperly interferes with another Offspring’s peaceful exercise of OAE autonomy resulting in a multi-OAE morass. Simply identifying each individual OAE in such a situation is difficult enough without tossing severity calculations into the mix.
Suffice to say, multi-OAE situations are probably the best defense against leisure sickness while on vacation.