We live in a society where workaholics are praised and held in high regard, but a new study published in The Lancet warns that the longer the hours, the greater the risk of stroke (33 percent) and coronary heart disease (13).
The new research reveals that working a 55-hour week is associated with a higher risk of developing potentially fatal conditions, compared with following the schedule of a normal 35-40-hour week. Researchers collected and analyzed data from than 600,000 people, making it the largest study on the matter.
Stroke was the highest risk for all categories of participants; working 41-48 hours a week increased the risk by 10 percent, but working 49-54 hours bumped it up by 27 percent. The connecting link between long work hours and heart health can be a number of bad habits, such as alcohol abuse, lack of physical activity and “repetitive triggering of the stress response.”
Additionally, heavy workload can also lead to making poor dietary choices, sleep disorders and taking up smoking as a stress reliever, according to Rachelle Foreman, health director of the Heart Foundation. At the beginning of the study, all participants were free of heart disease and stroke.
Ms Foremen hopes the study will ring the alarm for many employers who think that making people work longer hours is better for profit. In fact, working overtime is no more productive if that leads to poor health, because productivity will suffer from it, as sick days increase.
Data showed that only 20 percent of the supplementary hours worked in a 50-hour week were actually used to do effective and productive work. Magdalene Orazio, 32, is an event planner who experienced first-hand what working 11 hours a day everyday meant for her lifestyle.
After she had her son Christian, Ms Orazio decided it was time to back to a sort of part-time arrangement and she started working three days a week. When her renewed work ethics allowed her more time with her family, she realized she had made the right choice. Fewer work hours meant more balance to her life and being able to focus on her son and on eating healthier.
Image Source: The Guardian