Wondering how to plan your daily routine for better health? Learn about the findings of the latest study that has identified the ideal number of hours you should spend standing, sitting, sleeping, and engaging in physical activities for optimal heart health and diabetic control.

The research team from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia analyzed the behavior of 2,000 people for 24 hours to find out the ideal breakdown of activities and time required for each during the day for favorable health outcomes.

"Shorter sitting time and more time spent standing, undergoing physical activity, and sleeping are associated with preferable cardiometabolic health. The substitutions of behavioral time use were significantly stronger in their associations with glycaemic control in those with type 2 diabetes compared with those with normoglycaemic metabolism, especially when sitting time was balanced with greater physical activity," the researchers wrote in the study published in the journal Diabetologia.

The study recommends engaging in approximately four hours of physical activity daily, consisting of two hours and 10 minutes each of light and moderate exercises. Additionally, the researchers say it is ideal to aim for eight hours and 20 minutes of sleep, five hours and 10 minutes of standing, and six hours of sitting.

Dr. Christian Brakenridge, who led the team, refers to this combination as the "Goldilocks zone," indicating that it strikes a perfect balance for optimizing various health outcomes.

"For different health markers, from waist circumference to fasting glucose, there would be different levels for each behavior. This breakdown encompasses a wide range of health markers and converges on the 24 hours associated with overall optimal health," Dr. Brakenridge said.

When time spent sitting is replaced with physical activity, particularly low-intensity physical activity, the researchers noted greater benefits in blood glucose measures in those with type 2 diabetes than those without the condition.

While some may advocate for longer exercise durations for enhanced health benefits, Dr. Brakenridge emphasized that the study's recommendations are based on realistic expectations, taking into account the time individuals may spend inactive or sedentary.

"People may advocate for more time exercising, though it's not feasible to have 10 hours of exercise and zero hours of sedentary behavior—the time use has to be realistic and balanced. Of course, moving as much as you can is always encouraged when so much of life requires us to be sitting in front of screens. Shorter sitting time and more time spent standing, undergoing physical activity, and sleeping give great boosts to our cardiometabolic health," he explained.

"It's also important to acknowledge that this data is a recommendation for an able adult. We all have different considerations, and above all, movement should be fun," Dr. Brakenridge added.