Healthy Tip: Long Working Hours Take Their Toll On Heart Health
Whether you’re in your busiest season, spending lieu time with the kids, paying off a holiday, or simply trying to make ends meet, a survey for the 2017 Modern Families Index report suggests that workplace culture is driving two thirds of parents to leave work late on a regular basis. This extra work, often unpaid, could be costly for the hearts of families with 48 per cent of parents saying that work gets in the way of taking children to activities, 49 per cent saying that it prevents them taking enough physical exercise and 43 per cent reporting lack of time for a healthy diet.
While we know that over work can cause physical burnout, reduce quality shut eye, drive up blood pressure and possibly lead to an irregular heartbeat, what is less recognised is that the damaging effects of long working hours on heart health are often a result of a number of poor lifestyle choices.
Work demands can sometimes get out of your control, but your heart health is largely something you can take charge of. At least 80% of deaths from coronary heart disease could be prevented. So think about taking a step away from your desk and take some steps towards a healthier, happier, longer life with Heart Research UK’s Healthy Tips.
Take time out
With work deadlines, childcare and household chores tipping the work-life balance, take time out for you and your family. Ban your work phone on days off and steer clear of emails during your well-deserved downtime. However you like to relax, whether it’s with a good book or a fishing rod, climbing to a summit or taking to the road, give your heart a well-earned rest from the stresses of working life and try to add in some physical activity, giving your blood pressure a rest. With less phone distractions, more focussed time for fun family activities and less pent up stress, you’ll keep those little hearts healthy and happy too.
In this age of cars and computers the average worker may sit for ten or more hours a day. Get up, get moving and keep the blood flowing by staying physically active inside and out of work. Moving more helps keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels healthy, control your weight, boost self-esteem, improve sleep and aid concentration at work. The key is to start with small, manageable amounts then slowly increase the duration and intensity each time, aiming for at least 150 minutes spread over most days of the week.
Break for lunch
It’s easy to fall into the trap of lunching at your desk and before you know it, the night is drawing in and you’ve spent all day sitting. Make the most of your lunch break by squeezing in a short walk. If the team meeting has over run, why not find inspiration from outside the conference room by holding a corporate walk and talk. Getting up for a change of scenery will not only get the blood flowing and arteries supple, but will help to reinvigorate you for the rest of your working day.
Whether you bring a packed lunch or buy from the staff canteen, make heart healthy choices for your work lunch. Choose wholemeal bread for sandwiches and ditch creamy salad dressings for heart-healthy fats such as olive oil. Fill up a handful of fruit, crunchy veg and unsalted nuts instead of grazing through crisps and sweets and plan your evening meal so you’re not tempted to call for a takeaway on your way home. Follow our heart healthy recipe of the week (for simple and delicious ideas for eating well at work and at home.
Avoid artificial stimulants
Coffee, cigarettes, sugary snacks, energy drinks and a post work tipple are a popular crutch for getting through a long working day. The stimulating effects of these are short lived and could shorten your life. If you know any of these guilty pleasures are getting the better of your heart, set smart goals of how to ditch the habit. Make a realistic and achievable pledge to your work colleagues and seek support by way of healthy competition or signing up for our 50 day challenge.
Small simple changes all add up, so for the sake of a healthy heart, it’s time to rebalance and take a step towards a healthier, happier, longer life.
Story Credit: https://heartresearch.org.uk/latest-news/healthy-tip/healthy-tip-long-working-hours-take-their-toll-heart-health