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Heart disease: The simple exercise you can do at home to reduce your risk of the condition


Stress has once again been found as the most common cause of absence from work by the CIPD Health and Wellbeing at work report 2021. A huge 91 percent of employees in organisations with more than 250 employees reported some form of stress-related absence in the past year, even when working from home. Yet all is not lost, as there are some simple yet effective methods for reducing stress levels at home.

Although working from home was a novelty to begin with, after a full year and some having to adjust to a permanent work life balance from their homes, stress is at an all time high.

At times stress can help you focus, driving you to complete a task on time or strive to smash your deadlines, but persistent stress can have negative effects on your health – including potentially life threatening ones.

This includes the increased risk of heart attacks, heart disease, strokes and diabetes.

Problems occurring due to stress are not only physical, but cognitive, emotional and behavioural symptoms exist.

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For example depression, anxiety, mood changes, loss of appetite and memory problems could all occur from chronic stress.

In light of this, a new study has revealed that by simply doing yoga or stretching exercises at work, employees’ physical and mental wellbeing is boosted.

From 15 clinical trials involving almost 700 healthcare workers in the US, scientists were able to confidently conclude that yoga relieves stress better than traditional techniques, including massage.

Participants in the study were chosen at random to either take up an exercise routine or carry on as normal.


And results showed that only yoga and massage were more effective than no intervention at all.

Lead author of the study Dr. Michael Zhang, of the Southern Nevada Health District commented on the results, he said: “Work-related stress has been linked with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and other serious causes of morbidity.

“Our results suggest physical relaxation methods are helpful in reducing occupational stress

“Yoga is particularly effective and can be delivered virtually – making it convenient for employers to offer distance options to promote worker health.”

Dr Zhang and his team of authors continued to add that previous research has estimated that employees with work stress suffer a 50 percent risk of coronary heart disease.

Factors such as long shifts, overtime, shift work and inadequate staffing are common causes of this stress.

Heart disease occurs when the blood supply to the heart is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances.

Symptoms to look out for include chest pain and breathlessness, although many people do not start noticing symptoms until diagnosis.

Simple exercises

If committing to a yoga session does not fit in with your daily routine, completing a few stretches or breathing techniques when you get up in the morning or on your work breaks can also be really effective at reducing stress.

Some stretches or yoga positions that are simple to do for beginners include the following:

A forward fold – Inhale, lift your arms up and over your head. Release arms and exhale as you do fold your torso over your legs and fold over.

Child’s pose – Start with both of your knees on the floor, pull back your hips to your heels and rest your forehead on the floor. Your arms can stretch out in front of you or stay next to your body.

Head rolls – Simply moving your head in circular motions in both clockwise and anticlockwise directions can help alleviate neck stiffness and tension in the upper back.

Downward facing dog – A classic yoga pose. Take a deep breath, on the exhale push your legs up and your arms out to create an arch. Push your hips up towards the sky for a bigger stretch.

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