Being active while you work can reduce your risk for heart disease just as much as exercising in your leisure time.
A Finnish study of 60,000 men and women reports reduced heart failure risks when physical activity levels increased at work.
Over the past few decades the number of sedentary jobs has been on the rise due to computerization and mechanization, which means a lot more desk time for many of us as work.
In this Finnish study led by Dr. Gang Hu, instead of looking at the impact of leisure-time activity on heart disease risk (which is most often studied), researchers wanted to determine the impact of a physically active job on heart failure incidence. The study followed 29,334 men and 29,874 women ranging in age from 25 to 74 years-old. All participants did not suffer heart failure at the studies onset. Study participants were followed for ~18 ½ years. During this time period 1,868 men and 1,640 women developed heart failure.
The study found increased on-the-job activity levels lowered risk for heart failure. Men with physically active jobs have a 17% lower risk, while women with moderately active jobs had a 20% reduced risk of heart failure.
Of course, leisure-time physical active plays a role in reducing heart failure risk as well. Also, by adding physical activity to your commute to work (such as biking or walking to work) you'll reduce your risk that much further. Individuals who include activity into multiple aspects of their life - work, travel, and leisure time - had the lowest risk for heart failure. The study found that men who included physical activity into all three areas of their life lowered their heart failure risk 31% and women 34%.
What can you do at work to increase your level of activity?
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