If you have a bucket list for your retirement it may just save your life..or at least your brain.  Scientists said stimulating activities such as sport, reading, socializing and travelling, not only keep the mind sharp but also stave off depression that can set in when we suddenly stop working. In other words taking up a hobby or two, however, can boost brain power into old age.

Blue collar VS white collar: A team from Concordia University in Montreal suggested that people retiring from managerial jobs or professional work were more likely to keep their faculties than those who had unskilled or clerical occupations.

Clinical psychologist Dr Larry Baer, who led the study, explained: ‘Retirement usually occurs right around the time when normal age-related declines in cognitive function come to the fore. Dr Baer’s team looked at reports conducted over four years on 333 healthy retirees with an average age of 59. The findings, published in the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, concluded that pensioners should be encouraged to take up several mentally demanding hobbies to keep their brains healthy.

Dr Baer said: ‘It is my hope that these results will influence the design of future interventions aimed at maintaining the cognitive health of retirees.

They warned the switch from busy working life can leave a void which needs to be filled; otherwise our brains slow down faster.

'So it is important to understand what is happening to brain power during this period and to identify risk factors for mental decline, as well as factors that will help protect against it.’

Even mild signs of depression can mean a retiree is likely to suffer deterioration in their brain power once they finish working for good – highlighting the importance of keeping busy with enjoyable activities, they added.

‘This can be done by focusing on getting people to intensify their engagement in a variety of cognitive activities, even if they have lower levels of motivation to do so.