The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Work out at leisure, not at work

Chicago, May 26 (Reuters): Getting up from the couch and exercising even an hour or two a week can help stave off heart trouble, but strenuous job-related tasks may do more harm than good, a German study said today.

Taking two hours of leisure time per week to exercise can cut the risk of heart disease by more than half compared to a sedentary lifestyle, the study said.

But work-related physical activity may lead to a less-healthy cardiovascular system, said study author Dr Wolfgang Koenig of the University of Ulm Medical Center in Ulm, Germany.

Even less than an hour a week of exercise reduced the risk of heart disease by 15 per cent compared to those who did not exercise during their leisure time, the study found. Between one and two hours of exercise a week cut the risk by 40 per cent and more than two hours of exercise reduced the risk by 61 percent.

“Even simple activities such as low-intensity walking may lead to considerable reductions in mortality,” Koenig wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a journal published by the American Medical Association.

In contrast, work-related physical activity often consists of short bursts of exercise that do not confer cardiovascular benefits, the report said. But it said the higher heart risk may be related to the lower class of many physical labourers.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in developed countries, and half of all such cases are attributable to coronary heart disease.

In the study of nearly 800 Germans aged between 40 and 68, 312 of whom suffered from heart disease, the damage from lack of leisure-time exercise reported in summer and winter was evident in elevated levels of certain markers in the blood.

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