Physically demanding jobs take a toll on your health

Physically demanding jobs take a toll on your health

It turned out that the job that requires regular physical activity increases the risk of premature death in men by 18%.

But new research claims that those who are in more physically demanding jobs aren't in a vastly better position. The scientists got their findings in the Netherlands that reported something called "physical activity paradox" which means exercise can be harmful while at work but it is advantageous when you do it on free times. There was no such link among women.

'This evidence indicates that physical activity guidelines should differentiate between occupational and leisure time physical activity'. Moderate physical activity may be beneficial for the heart, but intense physical activity may damage it.

While people who exercise for recreation generally stay active for about an hour and can take breaks when they feel exhausted, people with highly demanding physical jobs are often performing the same labor-intensive tasks for hours, with few breaks.

Physical activity is generally considered to be an important preventive behaviour for non-communicable diseases while physical inactivity has been estimated to account for around 7 percent of the global health burden. 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. "This may help these workers to balance the negative health effects of occupational physical activity with the positive effects of leisure-time physical activity".

While the increase was seen in men, it wasn't seen among women, Coenen said. "They don't benefit from the good aspects of leisure-time activity, and they are exposed to the risk of occupational physical activity". Since their physically demanding jobs are hard enough, they might assume working out for leisure is unnecessary.

The study boldly concludes, "The results of this review indicate detrimental health consequences associated with high level occupational physical activity in men, even when adjusting for relevant factors (such as leisure time physical activity)".

But "an easier option may be to keep encouraging people to remain physically active during leisure time", Coenen said.

One U.S. expert said the findings make sense. He's director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Derby, Conn., and past president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Collectively, the studies provide information on over 193,000 men with varying levels of physically exhausting jobs.

"Thus, what appears to be the adverse effect of the work done on the job might additionally, or even alternatively, be the adverse effect of poverty, psychological stress, perhaps depression, and other lifestyle differences that track with these [types of jobs]", Katz said.

In light of the findings, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Coenen believes more should be done to encourage people in manual work to follow the standard guidelines on exercise, and not be fooled into thinking that they got enough at work.

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