The new study by Jennifer A Rieker et al. published in International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health (May 2023) shows us very clearly that, as one would image, an active social life outside of work is crucial to a person’s ability to undertake professional responsibilities in a productive, positive and competent manner. And interestingly this is accurate regardless of a persons age.
Rieker’s study looks at how Physical Fitness, Cognitive Functions, and Social Life all influence – and are all influenced by – the way we live our lives outside of work.
The research includes some interesting learnings about the relationship between modifiable lifestyle factors, cognitive functions, and their influence on work ability.
For example, good physical fitness showed a clear positive influence on work ability, but only in middle-aged adults, whereas cognitive functions had no significant influence on their ability to work.
In addition, this study showed that older adults can improve their cognitive abilities through exercise, and middle-aged adults who had healthy cognitive functions were somewhat more likely to lead a positive and engaged social life.
This research really adds to our understanding of how work ability can most efficiently be promoted for different age groups. It will serve as additional evidence that it’s important for people to stay fit and engaged with outside activities if they want to make an optimal contribution in the workplace.