Is all physical activity good for the body? Against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity, it would be our best ally. But these protective effects may well vary depending on the context: standing work (repeated carrying of heavy loads) or leisure. This is the finding of a recent study carried out by researchers from the National Center for Research on the Work Environment (in Copenhagen), and published in the European Heart Journal. This shows that theleisure physical activity and professional physical activity have opposite and independent associations with cardiovascular disease risk and in terms of life expectancy.
According to the WHO for adults aged 18 to 64, physical activity includes leisure, travel (walking, cycling),work activities, household chores, play activities and sports or planned exercise. This is based on 150 minutes of moderate-intensity endurance activity or 75 minutes of sustained-intensity endurance activity per week. But the researchers say previous studies have suggested that work-related physical activity is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and mortality. But their results were too incomplete to explain the reason: is it because of hardship at work or because the employees had an unhealthy lifestyle?
More effective recreational physical activity for cardiovascular health
This new study included 104,046 women and men aged 20 to 100 who agreed to complete a questionnaire on their physical activity. in their leisure time and at work. The responses allowed them to be classified into four categories: low, moderate, high or very high physical activity. During a 10-year follow-up, the researchers identified 9,846 deaths from all causes and 7,913 major adverse cardiovascular events, fatal or not: myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke (Stroke) and other coronary heart disease (which occurs when the blood supply to the heart muscle is interrupted or blocked).
After adjusting for age, sex, lifestyle, health and education level, the results showed that a physical activity moderate, high, and very high were associated with increased reduced risk of death of 26%, 41% and 40% respectively compared to a weak physical practice. In contrast, compared to low work activity, high and very high activity were associated with 13% and 27% risk of death, respectively. Likewise, compared to low leisure activity, moderate, high and very high leisure activity levels were associated with 14%, 23% and 15% reduction in risk.ofmajor adverse cardiovascular events.
Too much physical effort at work is doubly harmful
“Many people with manual labor think they are in good shape because of their physical activity at work and that they can relax once they get home. Our results suggest that this is not the case, ”explains Professor Andreas Holtermann, author of the study. “Of course, these workers could benefit from leisure-time physical activity, but after walked 10,000 steps during a household or stood for seven hours on a production line, they tend to feel tired, so that’s a hindrance. The study did not examine the reasons for the opposing associations Betweenprofessional and leisure physical activity, but evokes hypotheses.
“Brisk walking will be beneficial by increasing heart rate and improving cardiorespiratory condition, while professional activity does not increase it sufficiently for you.r improve physical fitness », Adds Professor Andreas Holtermann. “In addition, the work of lifting heavy loads for several hours a day increases blood pressure for many hours, which is linked to the risk of heart disease, while short periods of intense physical activity during leisure time do not. ‘increase only briefly. According to the researchers, it would be necessary reorganize professional activity so that it mimics the beneficial aspects of recreational sport exercise.