Healthy retirement

Retirement for some seems a golden promise at the end of an arduous working life. Of course there are others who can’t even consider the prospect of retirement from their chosen field. Then again there are those who dispute whether retirement is such a godsend anyway with apocryphal tales of people planning round the world trips in their retirement only to have a heart attack, break a hip, or find that ill health prevents them enjoying the supposed Nirvana of après work. Some even suggest that it is the end of work itself that precipitates these Health crises. To settle this conundrum of whether retirement really is good for you, researchers from the University of Sydney conducted a new study.

To do this followed the lifestyle behaviours of 25,000 older Australians examining physical activity levels, diet, sedentary behaviour, alcohol consumption, and sleep. The data revealed that after retirement, on average; physical activity increases by about 93 minutes per week, sedentary time decreases by 67 minutes per day, and sleep increases by 11 minutes per day. There was no link between retirement and alcohol consumption or fruit and vegetable consumption. However, it was noted that about 50 per cent of female smokers stopped smoking during retirement.

The positive changes occurring in retirement were most noticeable among people who had been working full time before retiring, as opposed to part-time or casual work. A major factor in the positive changes that occur in retirement according to researchers was how much time commuting to and from work can take out of a person’s day.

So while there will be exceptions depending on individual circumstances, it does seem that retirement can be a window of opportunity to change your life for the better.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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