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While you may consider yourself lucky to be working long hours (or even working at all given the current economy), all those extra hours of hard labor might actually be hindering your health in the long run. In a recent study, numbers suggest that people who work an average of 11 or more hours a day have a 67% higher risk of suffering from a heart attack or dying from heart disease than people who work the standard 8 hour day.
Currently, work schedules are being overlooked and underutilized as early warning signs for heart disease. Lead researcher of this new study, Mika Kivimaki, PH.D, suggests that if doctors were to simply start asking their patients “How many hours do you work a day?” during visits, 5% of people who have heart attacks each year might be identified beforehand as being a risk.
In general, this study did not show the cause and effect relationship between long hours and heart attacks, but researchers point out that the link could be due to a number of complicated health factors, which include:
- Stress - Lack of exercise - Eating high-calorie take out meals rather than healthy home-cooked meals.
Regularly burning the midnight oil may not only increase heart attack risk by itself, but it could also be an indicator of an unhealthy overall lifestyle. Someone who works long, hard hours may eat fast food more often and not have time for regular exercise - so it may not be the long hours of work, but the lifestyle that goes hand in hand with working those long hours.
To add insult to injury, the type of work and how much you enjoy it could make a big difference. Sitting behind a desk for 11 hours is known to be unhealthy; however, farmers who are notorious for working 12 or even 14 hours a day actually tend to live longer on average.
These new, interesting findings suggest that although you may be grateful for your job and may enjoy working long hours it may benefit you to get out of the office a little earlier and enjoy some time for yourself! Take a long hard look at your overall lifestyle during the week and make some changes, if necessary - take a hike, join a gym, and find hobbies that interest you!