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Healthy three-day weekend. Research by scientists from Australia

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During leisure time, people engage in more physical activity, sleep better and spend less time sedentary, which translates into positive health effects, Australian researchers have found. Therefore, according to them, a four-day working week would be a good solution, because an additional weekend day would translate into a better well-being of employees.

Scientists from the University Australia South published their analysis in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. They indicated that free time is beneficial for human health because it contributes to a more active lifestyle.

SEE ALSO: Holidays in 2023. When to take time off to have a long weekend?

Free time is good for health

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During the 13-month study, the researchers looked closely at the activities of 308 participants with an average age of 40. Each of them wore a special device that monitored their movements around the clock. The researchers checked the activities undertaken by these people before, during and after the holiday. The respondents most often took 2-3 holidays, each of which was about 12 days long.

It turned out that during their free time, study participants showed more active and healthy attitudes. The most popular forms of leisure time activities were outdoor recreation (35%), meetings with family and friends (31%), rest and relaxation (17%) and other activities, i.e. caring for others or renovations (17%) .).

These activities translated into positive health effects. According to the researchers, people spent 13% more time on vacation each day. (5 min) more time in moderate to high-intensity activities, 5% more. (29 minutes) spent less time sedentary and slept 4 percent. (21 mins) longer.

“When people have time off from work, they change their daily routine because they are not constrained by a typical schedule of action,” said Dr Try Ferguson, one of the authors of the study. – In the study, we found that behavioral patterns changed for the better during leisure time. The amount of time spent in physical activity increased and the amount of time spent sedentary decreased, he added. He also pointed to a particularly positive effect on mental and physical health, which is gaining extra minutes of sleep during the day off. “Adequate sleep can improve mood, cognitive ability and productivity, as well as lower the risk of developing diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and depression,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Four-day work week tests. Here are the effects

People need a three-day weekend

The researchers indicated that the longer the free time is, the better the health effects can be observed, although they indicated that they appear even during a three-day holiday. Therefore, according to them, a four-day working week is a beneficial solution. – The shorter working week is being tested by companies around the world. It is not surprising that employees (participating in these tests – ed.) reported less stress, burnout, fatigue, as well as better mental well-being and improved work-life balance – emphasized prof. Carol Maher, co-author of the study.

– The study provides empirical evidence that people adopt a healthier lifestyle when they have a short break, such as a three-day weekend. The increase in physical activity and sleep duration should have beneficial effects on mental and physical health, contributing to the benefits seen with a four-day workweek, she added.

Researchers also observed that the positive effects of getting more sleep during leisure time lasted for up to two consecutive weeks after the vacation ended. “As the world adjusts to the new normal, it may be time to introduce long weekends as a way to improve physical and mental health,” says Prof. Maher.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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