How do 24-h movement behaviours change during and after vacation? A cohort study

Ty Ferguson*, Rachel Curtis, Francois Fraysse, Timothy Olds, Dorothea Dumuid, Wendy Brown, Adrian Esterman, Carol Maher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
72 Downloads (Pure)



For adults, vacations represent a break from daily responsibilities of work – offering the opportunity to re-distribute time between sleep, sedentary behaviour, light physical activity (LPA) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) across the 24-h day. To date, there has been minimal research into how activity behaviour patterns change on vacation, and whether any changes linger after the vacation. This study examined how daily movement behaviours change from before, to during and after vacations, and whether these varied based on the type of vacation and vacation duration. 


Data collected during the Annual Rhythms In Adults’ lifestyle and health (ARIA) study were used. 308 adults (mean age 40.4 years, SD 5.6) wore Fitbit Charge 3 fitness trackers 24 h a day for 13 months. Minute-by-minute movement behaviour data were aggregated into daily totals. Multi-level mixed-effects linear regressions were used to compare movement behaviours during and post-vacation (4 weeks) to pre-vacation levels (14 days), and to examine the associations with vacation type and duration. 


Participants took an average of 2.6 (SD = 1.7) vacations of 12 (SD = 14) days’ (N = 9778 days) duration. The most common vacation type was outdoor recreation (35%) followed by family/social events (31%), rest (17%) and non-leisure (17%). Daily sleep, LPA and MVPA all increased (+ 21 min [95% CI = 19,24] p < 0.001, + 3 min [95% CI = 0.4,5] p < 0.02, and + 5 min [95% CI = 3,6] p < 0.001 respectively) and sedentary behaviour decreased (-29 min [95% CI = -32,-25] p < 0.001) during vacation. Post-vacation, sleep remained elevated for two weeks; MVPA returned to pre-vacation levels; and LPA and sedentary behaviour over-corrected, with LPA significantly lower for 4 weeks, and sedentary behaviour significantly higher for one week. The largest changes were seen for “rest” and “outdoor” vacations. The magnitude of changes was smallest for short vacations (< 3 days). 


Vacations are associated with favourable changes in daily movement behaviours. These data provide preliminary evidence of the health benefits of vacations. 

Trial registration: 

The study was prospectively registered on the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (Trial ID: ACTRN12619001430123).

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


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