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Have a heart, holiday sensibly

How many times have you ended a day while on holiday, exhausted to the point of feeling utterly drained?
PTI | By Poonam Goel
PUBLISHED ON AUG 31, 2004 01:18 PM IST

How many times have you ended a day while on holiday, exhausted to the point of feeling utterly drained? Been pressured, directly or indirectly, by other holiday-makers, or even your own kids, to do scary, taxing stuff — rock climbing, river rafting, taking heart-stopping rides in amusement parks — and felt the stress later? Been left breathless chasing tour guides, organising transport and making special arrangements for your kid?

Sometimes, holidaying doesn’t quite turn out to be as relaxing as you mean it to be. A survey by Harris Interactive Poll in the US found 84% of vacationers engaged in behaviour that could be stressful enough to increase the risk of a heart attack.

This wasn’t all. More than one in two vacationers (53%) said they felt stress while vacationing, one in three (34%) said they ate too much, 36% drank too much and 59% said they overexerted.

Willem Kop writes in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, “Extreme heat, cold, physical exercise, high density traffic, lack or privacy and conflict can all act as triggers (to heart disease).” Harsh Rastogi of Apollo Hospitals recalls the time he got a patient who’d overexerted climbing to Gomukh and had gone into a coma because his body wasn’t prepared for the lack of oxygen.

Clearly, there’s a case for disciplined vacationing. If you’re diabetic for instance, you can’t afford not to find out whether your destination has a menu for you, and if you have a back problem you’d be rash to try climbing up mountain faces or riding white water.

A good way of minimising stress is to stick, to the extent possible, to your usual routine even on holiday. If you’re used to an after-dinner walk, do it even if you’re in a freezing-cold hill station. As for meals, if you’ve had chocolate cake yesterday, have berries today.

Also, the days before and after your vacation are not unimportant. Says Samir Parikh of Max Healthcare: “We get cases where couples stress themselves out even before the vacation begins, arguing over when and where to go and how much to spend.”

Ekta Soni of Apollo feels it is important for you to rest at home for at least a day after returning. “You’ll find work piled up, and tackling that can be rather stressful."

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