A new study conducted by the University of South Australia highlights the benefits of the short week for workers’ physical and psychological well-being. Long weekends, that is, with four days of work and three days off, are being experimented with in various countries around the world. Australian researchers monitored changes in the daily commute before, during and after the vacations of a group of volunteers and found that people exhibit more active and healthy behaviors during the vacations.
Over the 13-month study period, on average people performed two or three recreational actions, lasting about 12 days each. The most common type of recreation was ‘outdoor activity’ (35 percent), followed by ‘family/social events’ (31 percent), ‘rest and relaxation’ (17 percent), and ‘nonleisure-related engagements’ such as caring for others or home renovations (17 percent). Specifically, the study showed that people engaged in moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) 13 percent more per day during the break, corresponding to about 5 minutes more per day. They also spent 29 minutes less per day in sedentary activity. The research also shows that the volunteers slept 4 percent more per day, about 21 minutes more per day) .
University of South Australia researcher Dr. Ty Ferguson says: “In this study, we found that movement patterns changed for the better during the vacations, with increased physical activity and reduced sedentary behavior observed across the board. “We also found that people gain an extra 21 minutes of sleep each day they are on vacation, which can have a number of positive effects on our physical and mental health. For example, getting enough sleep can help improve our mood, cognitive function and productivity. It can also help reduce the risk of developing a range of health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression.