Is your job killing you? Study says men in danger, women safe

Men who are highly physically active during their working day may be at an increased risk of early death researchers have warned. File image

From the cars and subways that take us to work comfortably seated, to the sedentary daytime jobs, to the hours we spend immobile on our phones or computers when we're not working, most of us fall short of the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week.

If a person does not practice exercise on a daily basis, he or she can get into the health problems like obesity, heart diseases, diabetes, dementia, etc.

Pieter Coenen, an occupational health researcher at VU University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and his colleagues analyzed 17 studies that investigated the effects of job-related physical activity.

"This study shows that men who took part in a high level of occupational physical activity had an 18% higher risk of early death compared to those who only reported a low level of physical activity in the workplace".

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The authors described the new study as the first to find evidence consistent with the physical activity paradox in this systematic review with meta-analysis of studies with a large number of participants. "If you go out for a run for half an hour in your leisure time", he said, "that increases your heart rate and you feel well afterwards, but when you are physically active at work, it's a very different type of activity".

Recent research has suggested that there is evidence of a physical activity paradox, with beneficial health outcomes associated with leisure time physical activity, but detrimental health outcomes for people engaging in high level occupational physical activity. "These men are dying earlier than those who are not physically active in their occupation". People who consider exercising as a part of an activity basically stay energetic for a short duration and take small breaks in between when they are exhausted. In fact, a study says that those with desk jobs, who sit all day at work, could be slowly killing themselves. "That may lead to the opposite of what is healthy for the heart, namely putting a strain on the cardiovascular system".

"The message I would give is that people should try to follow the physical activity guidelines regardless of what they do for a job", Hamer said. "They don't benefit from the good aspects of leisure-time activity, and they are exposed to the risk of occupational physical activity".

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