Do you take your work to heart? That’s good, but everything in moderation: a recent study has given additional weight to the theory that spending too much time at work is harmful to your health.
The study involved 6,000 British civil servants. Even after accounting for other known cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking, findings showed that participants who worked three to four hours of overtime a day (i.e. a total of 10 to 11 hours a day) ran a 60 percent higher risk of heart disease.
The researchers say one explanation for this is that people who spend more time at work have less free time to exercise and relax. They tend to be more stressed, anxious or depressive. Career-minded individuals also tend to have “Type A” personalities, in other words to be highly driven, aggressive and irritable. In addition, employees who work overtime are also more likely to work even when they are ill.
Other research is necessary in order to understand the link between overtime and cardiovascular disease. However, this study underscores the importance of work-life balance and of free time in preserving our health. If you need to put in more hours at work during a certain period, take a quick walk at lunch, take the stairs rather than the elevator, and make sure you eat well. These little measures will reduce the impact that long hours at work can have on your physical health.