The Melbourne Institute Worker Paper has published a study that shows that people over the age of 40 perform at their best when they only work for three days per week.
The study involved 3,500 women in Australia and 3,000 men also from Australia. The researchers looked into their habits of work and tested the participant’s ability to be able to recite lists of numbers along with reading out loud.
In the first half of the test, they looked at the thinking part of the person’s ability, including memory, abstract reasoning, and executive reasoning. Along with this, they measured what was called the knowing part of the person’s ability.
Cognitive Performance Improved In People Working 25 Hours A Week
The conclusion by the researchers was that the cognitive performance of the people who took part had improved when the person worked twenty-five hours a week. However, performance had been reduced if they worked fifty-five hours a week and this was put down to effects brought on by stress and fatigue.
Colin McKenzie, a professor at Keio University and one of three authors of the study said that the level of intellectual stimulation depended on the working hours. He said that while work is a sword that has a double edge stimulating brain activity, when working for more than forty hours a week it could result in fatigue and stress and that could have an impact on cognitive functions.
Working Part-Time Helps People Maintain Cognitive Functioning In Middle Age
He went on to say that differences in working hours does play a huge role in people being able to maintain cognitive functioning middle-aged and elderly adults. This meant that working part-time might help middle-aged and the older generation to maintain cognitive ability.
Working over thirty hours per week could have a negative effect on the brain health of middle-aged adults. McKenzie went on to say that working forty hours per week, which would be classed as full-time work, is more effective when it comes to maintaining optimal cognitive functioning rather than not working at all. However, he said it didn’t maximize positive effects of work.
McKenzie said that perhaps the results of the study would vary depending on the country the study was taken in. He admitted that it was difficult to control the factors that do contribute to the results of studies of that kind, including the choices of the type of work undertaken and the amount of hours worked.
So all in all the study revealed that working full time, 40 hours or more, can negatively impact the brains of those who are over the age of 40.