Research shows that long working hours increases the risk of having a heart attack by a staggering 67%!
Now this is something that seems obvious to me as an Alexander Technique teacher but it is good to have some formal research published on the topic. There have been many occasions, unfortunately, when I have seen people overworking for long periods of time until they get really ill – in a variety of different ways it has to be said. At this point, they often have to stop work altogether for a while. But the good news is that they usually find that the Alexander Technique can be a very helpful tool to use to aid their recovery.
The lead researcher in this study of using information about working hours as a method of predicting heart attacks, Professor Kivimäki of UCL Epidemiology & Public Health, reports that people who worked more than 7-8 hours a day were 5% more likely to have a heart attack than people with a similar health background and heart risk level. Those that regularly worked 11 hours or more, increased that risk to a dramatic 67%.
Is working overtime really worth that level of risk?
The research suggests that Doctors need to include questions about work hours and lifestyle when assessing heart risk factors. It also encourages workers to look after themselves and to keep their working hours to around 7-8 hours a day.
Alexander Technique lessons can help people become more aware so they can modify the impact of overwork on their general health and wellbeing. Importantly, the Technique can help people avoid their own habits of overuse and misuse of their bodies, which can help the nervous and cardiovascular systems to calm down. As one consultant cardiologist put it:
‘The Alexander Technique is a realistic alternative to beta blockers in the control of stress-induced high blood pressure’.
Dr Bent Ostergaard – Consultant Cardiologist