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Long hours need fitness

Tuesday September 7th, 2010

Men who work long hours need to keep physically fit to prevent their risk of fatal heart disease soaring, researchers warned today.

Over-working can double the risk of dying for a man who is unfit, according to new findings.

Long hours and inactivity prove to be a deadly combination, according to the study of some 5,000 men in Denmark.

Unfitness nearly doubles the risk of dying from heart disease compared with both men who are fit and hard-working and men who are unfit but work shorter hours, researchers found.

The men were studied for more than 30 years and some 587 died from heart disease during this period.

Long hours of work is thought to aggravate the risk to the heart because it leads to increased heart rate and blood pressure, according to Dr Andreas Holtermann, of Copenhagen, Denmark.

He says this can be counteracted by being physically fit.

He writes: "The finding that working more than 45 hours a week is associated with more than a doubled risk of death from heart disease among men with low physical fitness, and not among men with moderate or high physical fitness, is a new observation."

Cathy Ross, of the British Heart Foundation, added: "Being physically active helps to control your blood pressure and previous studies have shown that being physically fit can help you cope with the demands of long hours, physically demanding jobs and shift work.

"This study adds to these findings by demonstrating that men who are physically active as part of their everyday life do not increase their risk of coronary heart disease, irrespective of the number of hours they work.

"Being physically active for 30 minutes five times or more a week will help to keep your heart healthy. If you do work long hours, you can build physical activity into your everyday life by walking or cycling to work, taking the stairs instead of the lift and taking a brisk walk at lunchtime."

Heart on-line September 2010 doi: 10.1136/hrt.2010.197145

Tags: Europe | Fitness | Heart Health | Menís Health

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