3 Reasons Why It’s Important to Balance Work and Life


Many people feel pressure to work long hours to impress the boss and keep their job. But studies show that spending more than 40 hours at work may be detrimental to your health and quality of life. Consider three reasons why it’s important to balance work and life.

  1. Reduce cardiovascular disease – People who consistently work more than 40 hours a week could have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Working long hours can cause people to experience more tension and anxiety. This forces the body to produce more of the hormone cortisol, which causes inflammation that narrows blood vessels and contributes to heart attack or stroke.University College London researchers analyzed 42 studies of people in the United States, Europe and Australia, and identified a link between long work hours and strokes:
    • 55 or more hours a week increased the risk by 33 percent
    • 49 to 54 hours a week caused a 27 percent higher risk
    • 41 to 48 hours each week increased the risk by 10 percent

    The International Labour Organization reports that overall Americans work

    • 137 more hours a year than Japanese employees
    • 260 more hours annually than people living in Britain
    • 499 more hours yearly than workers in France
  2. Lower stress levels – Stress is one of the primary causes of health problems for workers. Regularly putting in long hours at work can cause higher levels of stress for employees and reduce their quality of life. Often, they have little time to relax, unwind or spend time with friends. As a result, they may stay up late, missing out on the sleep they need to stay well.
  3. More time for physical activity – Working long hours also can reduce the time people have available for sports and exercise. Experts recommend that during the workday employees should:
    • Get up and walk around the office
    • Take deep breaths to release stress
    • Stretch to relax tight muscles
    • Stand up during phone calls, or at least one to two minutes every half hour

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