We investigated associations for long working hours in relation to physical inactivity and high-level physical activity among middle-aged and older adults.
Our study included 5402 participants and 21 595 observations from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Ageing (2006–2020). Logistic mixed models were used to estimate ORs and 95% CIs. Physical inactivity was defined as not engaging in any type of physical activity, while high-level physical activity was defined as engaging in ≥150 min per week of physical activity.
Working >40 hours weekly was positively related to physical inactivity (OR (95% CI) 1.48 (1.35 to 1.61)) and negatively related to high-level physical activity (0.72 (95% CI 0.65 to 0.79)). Exposure to long working hours consecutively for ≥3 waves was associated with the highest OR for physical inactivity (1.62 (95% CI 1.42 to 1.85)) and the lowest OR for high-level physical activity (0.71 (95% CI 0.62 to 0.82)). Furthermore, compared with persistent short working hours (≤40 hours -> ≤40 hours), long working hours in a previous wave (>40 hours -> ≤40 hours) were associated with a higher OR of physical inactivity (1.28 (95% CI 1.11 to 1.49)). Exposure to an increase in working hours (≤40 hours -> >40 hours) was also associated with a higher OR of physical inactivity (1.53 (95% CI 1.29 to 1.82)).
We found that having working long hours was associated with a higher risk of physical inactivity and a lower likelihood of high-level physical activity. Moreover, accumulation of long working hours was associated with a higher risk of physical inactivity.