Working Out Is Good For Mental Health. But One Day A Week Is Enough

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Working Out Is Good For Mental Health. But One Day A Week Is Enough
Working Out Is Good For Mental Health. But One Day A Week Is Enough

Video: Working Out Is Good For Mental Health. But One Day A Week Is Enough

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Working out is good for mental health. But one day a week is enough

A study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine shows that when people take paid jobs for eight hours or less a week, their risk of mental health problems is reduced by an average of 30%.

Working out is good for mental health. But one day a week is enough
Working out is good for mental health. But one day a week is enough

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With the development of automation, some people have alarming predictions about mass unemployment, while others are happy to imagine a society where they will not need to work at all.

In addition to economic factors, paid work also provides psychological benefits, increasing self-esteem and improving social inclusion. Scientists at the Universities of Cambridge and Salford decided to determine how much work to feel good. They examined how changes in working hours were associated with mental health and life satisfaction in over 70,000 UK residents between 2009 and 2018.

A study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine shows that when people take paid jobs for eight hours or less a week, their risk of mental health problems is reduced by an average of 30%.

However, the researchers found no evidence that working more than eight hours a week further improves health. Scientists believe that for optimal mental health benefits from paid work, the most “effective dose” is only about a workday per week, since longer durations do not significantly change.

“We have dosage instructions for everything from vitamin C to recommended sleep periods, but this is the first time the issue of paid work has been raised. We know that unemployment is often detrimental to people's mental health, negatively affecting personality, status or use of time, depriving them of a sense of a collective purpose. We now have an idea of ​​what "dose" of paid work is needed to obtain the psychosocial benefits of work. And that's not much,”says study co-author Dr. Brendan Burchell, a sociologist at the University of Cambridge.

Theories about universal basic income are now being actively discussed, but scientists argue that employment for the adult population should be maintained, only working hours should be reduced, and work should be redistributed.

The researchers used data from a UK household survey, which included 71,113 people aged 16 to 64 who changed their working hours over the nine-year study period. People were asked about issues such as anxiety and sleep problems to assess their mental health.

The researchers found that self-reported life satisfaction in men increased by about 30% when working hours increased to 8 hours of paid work per week, while women did not see this increase until working hours were increased to 20 hours per week.

The researchers note that there is a significant difference in mental health status between those who have a paid job and those who do not have a job, but the work week can be significantly shortened without compromising the mental health and well-being of workers.

Scientists suggest options for moving in the future to shorter working hours, including five days off, working just a couple of hours a day, or increasing annual leave from weeks to months, even with two months off every month of work.

They also argue that shrinking and reallocating working hours can improve work-life balance, increase productivity, and reduce CO 2 emissions from commuting. However, they point out that shrinking hours should be everyone's business to avoid rising socioeconomic inequalities.

“The traditional model, in which everyone works 40 hours a week, has never focused on how much work is beneficial for the workers themselves. Our research shows that “micro-work” provides the same psychological benefits as full-time work,”said study co-author Senhu Wang, a Cambridge sociologist.

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