We all need a three-day weekend, study says

Credit: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

A four-day workweek is becoming increasingly popular in different countries around the world, with some companies and governments trialing it as a new work model.

Recently, health researchers at the University of South Australia have shared their support for a longer weekend, as new empirical research shows that extra time off is beneficial to health.

The study looked at the changes in daily movements before, during and after holidays and found that people displayed more active, healthy behaviors when they were on holiday, even when they only had a three-day break.

Over a 13-month study period, people generally took an average of two to three holidays, each being around 12 days.

The most common types of the holiday were “outdoor recreation” (35%), followed by “family/social events” (31%), “rest and relaxation” (17%), and “non-leisure pursuits” such as caring for others or home renovations (17%).

The research showed that on holiday, people engaged in 13% more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) each day, which is equivalent to five minutes more of daily activity.

They were also 5% less sedentary each day, which is 29 minutes less of sedentary behavior daily. Additionally, they slept 4% more each day, which is 21 minutes more sleep per day.

The team says that the research indicates that people display healthier behaviors when they are on holiday.

He says that when people go on holiday, they are changing their everyday responsibilities because they are not tied down to their normal schedule.

In this study, they found that movement patterns changed for the better when on holiday, with increased physical activity and decreased sedentary behavior observed across the board.

Moreover, the research team found that people gained an extra 21 minutes of sleep each day they were on holiday, which can have a range of positive effects on our physical and mental health.

For instance, getting enough sleep can help improve our mood, cognitive function, and productivity.

It can also help lower our risk of developing a range of health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression.

The study also showed that the size of these changes increased with the length of the holiday, suggesting that the longer the holiday, the better the health benefits.

The research used data from the Annual Rhythms in Adults’ Lifestyle and Health (ARIA) study, where 308 adults (with a mean age of 40.4 years) wore fitness trackers 24 hours a day for 13 months.

Minute-by-minute movement behavior data was aggregated into daily totals to compare movement behaviors pre-holiday, during holiday and post-holiday.

The team says that the study offers support for the growing movement for a four-day week.

The team notes that a shorter working week is being trialed by companies worldwide, with employees reporting less stress, burnout, fatigue, better mental health, and improved work-life balance.

This study provides empirical evidence that people have healthier lifestyle patterns when they have a short break, such as a three-day weekend.

The increase in physical activity and sleep is expected to have positive effects on both mental and physical health, contributing to the benefits observed with a four-day workweek.

The study also showed that even after a short holiday, people’s increased sleep remained elevated for two weeks, showing that the health benefits of a three-day break can have lasting effects beyond the holiday itself.

If you care about wellness, please read studies about why beetroot juice can strongly boost muscle force in exercise, and vitamin D supplements strongly reduces cancer death.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

The study was conducted by Ty Ferguson et al and published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.