If you aren’t taking advantage of your vacation days, you are not alone. According to CNN, Americans do not utilize their vacation days, which is one of the big reasons why the United States has become known as the most overworked nation. But how does this all work, no play mentality effect our health? According to a recent study published in The Lancet, longer work hours may contribute to cardiovascular disease.
Through the study, it was found that people who work 55 or more hours per week were found to have a 13% increased risk of coronary heart disease. The study also reviews that compared to people who 35 to 40 hours a week, those who work more also have a 33% increase risk of having a stroke.
We know what you are thinking: 55 hours a week doesn’t seem like that much time to spend in the office. However, the rise in risk for heart-related illnesses shows that spending that extra hour in the office before heading home may be doing more harm than you think.
Despite the lack of an overall link between working longer hours and a greater risk of health problems, the study did acknowledge potential correlations including the facts that working longer hours is often linked with more alcohol consumption, sitting for a longer period of time, and greater stress.
We know that working overtime may be unavoidable, so we found a few tips and tricks to make sure you are getting in a workout and remembering to get up and move. Now, even if you can’t stray from the office, or find the thought of cutting hours stressful in itself, you can still maintain your work-life, fit-life balance.
1. Workout during your lunch break
Plenty of offices come equipped with workout rooms, but even if yours doesn’t, there are easy ways to workout during your lunch break. Interval training may be a good option, since it torches fat and builds muscle, but also doesn’t take up too much time. Going for a short run is another option. Finally, fitness studios have started to offer more lunch hour classes — try grabbing a coworker and have your midday meeting while working up a sweat.
2. Know when to get up
Sitting does more harm than you may know. According to Men’s Health sitting for long periods of time can cause distress and make you feel tired. To reverse some of these potential harmful effects of sitting, try to get up an move around every 20 to 30 minutes. Even the smallest actions can go a long way! Walk, instead of taking the subway, go for small walk breaks, or park in a spot that might not be the closest. Doing small stretches at your desk can even help take your mind off of work and keeping your blood flowing.
3. Make a routine
The key to getting in a workout midday or taking a few short walks throughout the day lies in routine. By packing a gym bag the night before and having it ready, you start your day with one less excuse. Even if you think you can’t get in a midday workout, or find yourself too busy on a particular afternoon, by having your gym bag packed, you can simply shift your schedule and get a workout in later in the day or after work. Try packing your own lunch to save time and money (not to mention it’s healthier). If you normally have an hour lunch break, packing a lunch may be your key to being able to get in a run or workout during the day.