Technically, if you break down my job as an afternoon radio host & audio production director here at Delta Media… it’s more of a desk job than you might think. I sit at a desk with a mixer in front of me, a computer to my left, and a microphone in front of my face. I answer emails, manage/produce orders (for radio commercials), and spend most of my time with my butt in a chair in front of a screen. So yeah, you could call it a (cool) office job. I often worry that working a relatively inactive job physically is bad for my health, so I’ve always compensated by having a daily workout routine. However, this new study reveals that working an office job has a positive effect on your brain as you get older.
The University of Cambridge in England conducted a study on men and women between 40 and 79 years-old from different backgrounds and job titles. They took a health and lifestyle questionnaire that looks at their activity levels in and outside of work. After 12 years, they brought the same study group back to test their memory, attention, reading ability, and visual processing speed. Believe it or not, the researchers found people with, quote, “physically inactive” careers did three times better on memory, attention, visual processing speed, and reading ability.
These results go against the common belief that staying physically active means good things for your brain, too. The researchers believe the reason for these surprising results is because desk jobs, while physically inactive, are more mentally challenging than physical jobs. And that helps protect your brain from declining. This makes sense, as a physical job will help prevent your physical body and strength from declining as you age instead.
Want to keep both your brain and body healthy? Unfortunately, there is no job or career that I could suggest off the top of my head that would help you achieve this. My thoughts are that if you work a physically demanding job, try persuing a hobby that engages your mind, like learning a new language, building websites, or writing. If you have a desk job where you are sitting for eight hours a day, invest in some workout equipment, or jog around your neighborhood after work (that’s what I do!)