Can a physically taxing job be bad for our brains?

Regular exercise helps to bulk up our brains and improve thinking skills, numerous studies show. But physically demanding jobs, even if they are being carried out in an office, might have a different and opposite effect, according to a provocative new study of almost 100 older people and their brains and work histories. It finds that men and women who considered their work to be physically draining tended to have smaller memory centers in their brains and lower scores on memory tests than other people whose jobs felt less physically taxing.

The study does not prove that physical demands at work shrunk people’s brains. But it does raise interesting questions about whether being physically active on the job might somehow have different effects on our brains than being active at the gym or out on the trails.

Most of us probably expect that physical activity is physical activity and its

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