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Leisure Sickness – Is Summer Making Us Ill? 

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Nutritionist Libby Limon’s tips and on how to reset your summer wellness routine with the help of Link Nutrition’s Food Based™ blends


You may have never heard of ‘leisure sickness’ but the odds are that you know someone, or are even someone who seems to suffer from it, and often unknowingly.  Leisure sickness describes a medical condition in which people become ill at a weekend or while on holiday.  Essentially, as soon as you stop and relax, leisure sickness begins with fatigue, muscle pains or even colds and flu to ruin your well-earned break

The condition was first identified by Dutch psychologist Professor Ad Vingerhoets of Tilburg University. His research found that 3% of the population may suffer from weekend or vacation sickness, with the most frequently reported symptoms including headaches, migraine, fatigue, muscular pains, nausea and, particularly in relation to vacation, viral infections causing flu-like symptoms and colds. So why does it happen and how can we help prevent it ruining our summer?


Firstly, we may think of holidays as a stress-free time but consider the additional stress that is created by getting ready to take time off – longer to do lists, work handovers, packing, cleaning the house, and even the stress of travelling. Our ability to cope with the constants of modern-day living leaves many of us in a chronic stressed state with a tendency for anxiety, poor sleep and feeling overwhelmed. Therefore, when pushed, this can then tip over to physical symptoms or getting sick. Taking some time to incorporate some stress relief methods into your everyday routine such as mindful breathing, walking or yoga can help you switch off more effectively rather pushing yourself to edge of burnout.  Also, magnesium is a major mineral for regulating our ability to deal with stress and it is commonly insufficient in our diets. My tip is to take a food-based magnesium supplement such as Link’s  Magnesium (£15.95 for 30 capsules. Available from It’s a Food Based™ form (as all Link Nutrition products are) and so is significantly better absorbed so you need less of it in the supplement. Also, synthetic magnesium supplements can often cause stomach upset, but this one is gentle on the stomach without sacrificing effectiveness.

Travel itself can also be an assault on our immune system, especially is we are getting on a plane. Most flu and common colds are airborne diseases and so it’s not surprising that we often get ill on planes, as they are enclosed spaces with lots of people. Generally speaking, you are most likely to catch something if you are in the same row, in front or behind of someone who is has flu and cold germs. If you are more than three rows away you are unlikely to get ill so, if at all possible, try and sit away from them! However of course, that’s not always possible, and in those cases, there are definitely some things that you can do to help protect against germs. Using a surgical mask like Naomi Campbell would definitely help to protect against other people’s germs getting into your system and another effective way to prevent against cough and cold germs is to wash your hands regularly with soap, water and hand sanitiser, as germs can survive on surfaces on surfaces for up to 24 hours. Dettol wipes also ensure that you are keeping surfaces where other people have been touching germ free.  For boosting general immunity, I recommend taking a vitamin D spray or supplement, as it’s essential for immunity, and also taking immune adaptogens such as Mushroom Plus (£18.95 for 60 capsules. Available as mushrooms have been show to have amazing benefits on a person’s immune system. They also contain antioxidants which help regulate healthy inflammatory response systems.


Another common symptom of leisure sickness is poor digestion. Travellers’ diarrhoea, can affect between 30-70% of those heading to foreign climes, and the stress of travelling can sometimes also affect the gut causing digestive problems and bloating. Probiotics, are a proven way to protect against gut misadventures both home and away. Symbiotic (£19.99 for 60 capsules. Available from LinkNutrition.comcontains both prebiotics and probiotic strains to ensure the 40 billion bacterial strands are operating at their optimum efficiency. Prebiotics are compounds that provide the nutrients and energy for the probiotic bacteria to grow and thrive; they can be seen as a “fertiliser” for the healthy bacteria in your gut to promote growth. Taking for a few weeks before your trip plus whilst you are away, can reduce issues significantly.

As with all things health and wellness, pre-emptive action is always the best way to tackle these things. Adding a few simple things to your routine leading up to your break may be just what your body needs for you to get the most out of your holiday.

Best Buys

  • Magnesium (£15.95 for 30 capsules)
  • Mushroom Plus (£18.95 for 60 capsules)
  • Symbiotic (£19.99 for 60 capsules. Available from

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