A recent study has shown that where excessive physical strain at work may increase the risk of heart disease manifold, doing leisure time exercises can actually prevent heart diseases.
According to researchers this may be due to the difference in the nature of physical activity associated with leisure time exercises and work. The physical strain involved at workplace is more prolonged and static whereas exercising in ones own time is usually for shorter durations and is dynamic in nature, making a person feel more energetic and lively.
A study was conducted on 312 people to study the effect of “leisure time exercise” and “physical strain at work” on the heart. Each of the 312 people (between the age group of 40-68) had heart disease and were compared with 479 people (in the same age group) with a healthy heart. People in both the groups were enquired about their involvement in leisure time exercise and level of physical strain at work.
At the end of the study it was found that people with heart diseases were less involved in the leisure time exercises and had increased physical strain at work. Hence, the study showed that the risk of heart disease decreased with the increase in the leisure time exercise whereas the risk increased with the increase in physical strain at work. Heavy physical strain increased the risk of heart disease by almost 5 times whereas doing even 2 hours of exercise in a week cut down the risk by 61%. However, those people who engaged in some amount of cycling or walking during the workday also had lower chances of developing heart disease.
Also, a blood test conducted on all the participants showed lower levels of C-reactive protein (an inflammatory marker, believed to cause hardening of the arteries) in people who engaged in leisure time exercises. It is therefore recommended that some time should be set aside to exercise at leisure in order to ensure a healthy heart.