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Include 4 hrs of physical activity, 8 hrs sleep in routine for optimal health, suggests study

Include 4 hrs of physical activity, 8 hrs sleep in routine for optimal health, suggests study
For optimal health, a person's ideal day should include more than four hours of physical activity involving exercise of light, moderate or vigourous intensity, and at least eight hours of sleep, new research has found. Light-intensity activity could range from doing chores to making dinner, whereas moderate and vigourous exercise involve more intentional movement such as a brisk walk or a gym workout, researchers said.

The ideal daily routine should also include six hours of sitting and five hours of standing, they said.

The international team, led by Swinburne University of Technology, Australia, analysed the behaviour of more than 2,000 people within a 24-hour day to determine the right mix of time spent sitting, sleeping, standing and being physically active for desirable health.

"This breakdown encompasses a wide range of health markers and converges on the 24 hours associated with overall optimal health," said Christian Brakenridge, from the Centre for Urban Transitions, Swinburne University of Technology.

"For different health markers, from waist circumference to fasting glucose, there would be different levels for each behaviour," added Brakenridge, also the lead author of the study published in the journal Diabetologia.

For instance, switching time spent sitting with more time being physically active or performing light-intensity movements was associated with more beneficial blood glucose levels in individuals having diabetes than those without the condition, the researchers found.

The findings also acknowledged how a certain activity replacing another could impact an individual's whole day.

"Sleeping may be detrimental to health if it replaces exercise time, but beneficial if it replaces sedentary behaviour," explained Brakenridge.

However, even as exercising is more beneficial, time use has to be realistic and balanced, he said.

"People may advocate for more time exercising, though it's not feasible to have 10 hours of exercise and zero hours of sedentary behaviour," the researcher said.

While the findings applied for able adults, he acknowledged that everyone has different considerations and advised that physical activity should be fun.

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