So, for the new study, which was published in April in The Lancet Public Health, researchers from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo and other institutions delve as deeply and widely as possible into lifestyle as well as workplace labor. Decided to do, and life time.
He began turning to data already collected by Norwegian health agencies, which, as part of ongoing studies, have been measuring the health of hundreds of thousands of Norwegians for decades. That data included detailed information about their work and exercise history, education, income, and other aspects of their lives.
The researchers now pulled the records of 437,378 participants in these studies and classified them by job types. Some, such as clerks or inspectors, did some walking and lifting; others did heavy physical labor; And the rest more or less sat at their desks all day. The researchers then crosschecked people’s records from a decades-long database tracking diseases and deaths in Norway.
At first, their results reinforced the idea that active jobs shorten lives. Over the course of about 30 years, men in sedentary jobs outnumbered those who frequently walked or labored themselves at work. (As before, there were no significant associations between women’s occupations and their longevity.)
But when the scientists faithfully controlled for everyone’s education, income, smoking, exercise habits, and weight, the associations flipped. In this full analysis, active men at work developed heart disease and cancer at lower rates than deskbound men. Whether they tended to walk a fair amount for work or did other, more strenuous labor, active men lived on average about a year longer.
In short, the study shows that “every movement counts, whether you’re active at work or during leisure,” says Professor Ulf Eklund from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, who oversaw the new study. Conversely, the results also remind us, that sitting at a comfortable desk or even on a cushioned sofa is unhealthy.
This study doesn’t tell us which aspects of our lives, away from work, may most affect our health and longevity, or why women’s lifespans generally seem to be unaffected by work-time exertion. Dr. Eklund and his colleagues hope to look into some of those issues in future research. But, for now, he says, let’s assume that “all physical activity is beneficial, whether it’s done during leisure, at work, at home, or during transportation.”
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