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Want to keep working at an older age? A social life off the job may help

Photo: kali9/iStockphoto

Dortmund, Germany — An active social life outside of work can have a positive effect on your ability to keep working as you age, results of a recent study by German and Spanish researchers suggest.

Using data from 247 middle-aged and 236 older workers who participated in the Dortmund Vital Study, the researchers looked at physical fitness, cognitive function and social life, as well as each one’s influence on work ability – measured via the Work Ability Index, “which considers job demands and individual physical and mental resources.”

The researchers found that having a social life outside of work “had significant positive effects on work ability” for both groups of workers. Meanwhile, physical fitness had a “significant effect” on work ability among the middle-aged workers.

“Work ability is influenced by various factors in the course of working life,” a press release from the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors says. “In particular, social activities outside work and physical activity in leisure time increase well-being and health and can act as a compensation for work-related negative aspects such as psychosocial stress or even poor working conditions.”

The study was published online in the journal International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health.

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