People may not like to admit it but the older we get, the more we lose our sharpness. With age comes wisdom, but the ability to focus and remember things starts declining. As time goes by, people don’t have as quick reactions or solutions as they used to.
A study conducted recently at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, that produced some interesting results. The study found that working up to 30 hours per week is good for the cognitive function later in life, but any more than that causes performance to decline.
The research analyzed 3500 females and 3000 males, who were all over 40-years-old. The participants participated in cognitive function tests, while they were being monitored.
The study came to an interesting result – people, who worked more than 55 hours a week had greater cognitive decline than those who were not working at all.
The author of the test, Professor Colin McKenzie said that it contained different elements, which showed the participants’ ability to read words out loud, match letters and numbers in speed trials and recite lists of numbers. McKenzie says that knowledge and thinking abilities were significant indicators of cognitive aptitude. Reading tasks test the knowledge element of ability, while thinking comprises of memory and abstract reasoning.
Some degree of intellectual stimulation is good in the older age, for example, solving puzzles and crosswords, but excessive stimulation has the opposite effect.
Professor McKenzie said that many countries are discussing raising the retirement age, which forces people to work longer. He says that it is important not decrease the working days per week to 3 days maximum.
He says that there is a thin line between keeping the brain intellectually active and working too much, which causes stress and has other negative consequences. McKenzie believes that the best solution is for people over 40 to be working part-time. This way they will stimulate the brain enough, but not get it too exhausted or stressed.
McKenzie suggests people find a balance in their life and not overwork themselves when they are more than 40-years-old. He thinks that this can have crucial effects on the overall health.
Remember that money is important, but it is not the most important thing in life. No one wants to look back at their life to only remember spending all their time at work. There is so much more, like spending time with friends and family. Don’t take work too seriously and find time to make some awesome memories as well.
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