A 2017 study done in the Netherlands found there is a link between retiring earlier and living longer. So should you put in your papers now and get out early? Not so fast. Early retirement does not necessarily guarantee that you will live a long and healthy life.
Other research shows that there are several lifestyle factors that contribute to being healthy during retirement. If you want those health benefits, here are some things you’ll probably need.
A Good Social life
Socialization is key to preventing depression as well as dementia. This study found that retirees who were unmarried and did not socialize much were significantly less healthy than retirees who were married and socialized a lot.
Single? This doesn’t mean you need to go out and get married as soon as you retire. But it does mean that maintaining good relationships, whether with friends or significant others, is likely to keep you healthier for longer.
Another major finding of the above study was that retirees who exercised less when they stopped working were likely to have poorer health outcomes. The good news is that Americans are likely to increase their exercise level when they retire, probably because they have more free time.
However, people who do physically strenuous jobs, like construction, are actually more likely to gain weight when they retire. So if you did a job that was naturally strenuous, keep up your activity level when you retire.
The authors of the Dutch study suggest that one of the reasons retirement could promote health is that it reduces stress. Other research has shown that stress impacts one’s risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as overall health.
For some, retirement may usher in a new age of peace and relaxation. But for others, retirement may actually be more stressful. If you fall into the latter category, consider working for longer, or be learning stress management techniques like yoga and meditation.
Here’s an easy one. This study shows that retirement can improve health by providing people with more time to consistently get a good night’s sleep. Don’t feel guilty about sleeping in once you’re retired—it’s good for you!
Retirement looks a little different for everyone. Some people may live calmer and quieter lives, while others may be more adventurous. But however you choose to spend your retirement years, choose to live them in a healthy way.
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