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7 ways your job could shorten your life

Here are the seven ways your job could put you at risk and how you can nip some of these problems in the bud for a better chance of a longer, healthier life. Read on...

health and fitness Updated: Oct 06, 2010 17:17 IST

If work enriches our lives in many ways, it can shorten it too. Here are the seven ways your job could put you at risk and how you can nip some of these problems in the bud for a better chance of a longer, healthier life, reports ABC News.

Distracted driving: Taking the office on the road

Cell phones, smart phones and personal digital assistants have improved the ability to conduct work at all hours. Meanwhile there has been a surge in the number of fatal crashes caused by drivers who continue texting and talking on cell phones behind the wheel.

The solution: When you are on the road, put down your phone or BlackBerry. Considering the consequences, it's likely that work, however important, can wait.

WorkplaceSitting still: When work's got you chained to the desk

Doctors, nutritionists and other health professionals tell us time and again how sitting on a couch, snacks at the ready, contributes to heart disease and diabetes. But who knew until quite recently that the countless hours many workers spent seated at their desks, eyes glued to computer screens or phones attached to ears might cut their lives short?

The solution: Make sure you build into your daily schedule opportunities to get up from your desk and walk around. Take the stairs, leave your desk for lunch.

Work is hell: When you have a bad boss or hostile workplace

Multiple studies in recent years have focused on the impact of a hostile workplace and a bad boss on a worker's physical and mental health. It turns out that these factors can be life shortening.

The solution: Do what you can to change the work culture in your office. Building positive relationships with co-workers and working to forge better communication with your supervisors may go a long way in terms of improving the morale within your work environment. If the situation is untenable, consider talking to human resources to see if there is a legal way to remedy the hostile environment in your workplace.

Wide awake: When work disrupts your sleep

Work stress can creep up more subtly. The cumulative effect of insufficient sleep, whether caused by interrupted or poor sleep, insomnia or the body's inability to adjust to shift work can also speed your demise.

The solution: When possible, leave work at the office; try not to let your work life bleed into the late hours of the night. If necessary, schedule your sleep so that you are guaranteed to get a solid six to eight hours. And if stress is keeping you awake at night on a regular basis, you may want to seek professional help.

Walking papers: Getting laid off or fired

The stress associated with losing a job is often described as one of the most trying life events, along with divorce and death of a loved one. But it isn''t the only job-related worry that can kill you. The persistent fear of losing a job, which is particularly prevalent in the current economic climate, can produce similar stress and ill health.

The solution: It's not easy to recover after losing your job, but health experts say the effects of such a tribulation can be mitigated by smart behaviour. One of the most important things someone struggling with a job loss can do is invest in their own well-being.

Burning the midnight oil: Working overtime or working late

Those working 10 to 11 hours a day (compared with the traditional seven-hour British workday) were as much as 60 per cent more likely to suffer heart disease or die prematurely than those working regular hours.

The solution: Given the current economic climate, it may be hard for many workers to say "no thanks" to overtime for the sake of their health. Still, it may be in your best interest to explore ways to exercise more control over your schedule, such as flex time.

Risky workplace: When occupational hazards expose you to danger

Occupational health hazards, sometimes caused by exposures to dangers not visible to the naked eye, can shorten lives.

The solution: For some jobs, the exposure to potentially dangerous situations or environments is simply a fact of life. The important thing is to adhere to all recommended health and safety practices for your profession-whether that means donning a dust mask or other protective gear if you are in a construction or carpentry role, to practicing proper safety measures if you work with or around dangerous substances.

First Published: Oct 06, 2010 16:41 IST