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How Retirement Can Affect Your Health
Retirement is like any other change in your life…it’s best viewed as a process, not a one-time event.
Like any other major change in your life, such as your early teens or the start of your professional career, retirement brings changes, both good and bad.
Although a lot of research has been done on how your health is affected by retirement itself, very few studies have been done on how being retired affects your health after retirement.
The stress of retirement
Life is a series of stressful events. In fact, one study ranked retirement 10th on the list of the most stressful life events.
According to Harvard Health Blogretirement is, for some people, a chance to get away from it all and relax…for others, it can be the beginning of a period of declining physical and mental capacities and limitation growing in what they are able to do.
Another study in the Harvard Health Blog suggests that “going from work to non-work is accompanied by a multitude of other changes”.
If you loved your job, retirement can bring a certain emptiness. If you had a stressful job, retirement brings relief.
The negative effects of retirement
A study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in the United States concluded that retirement can cause up to a 16% increase in difficulty with mobility and daily tasks, a 5-6% increase in illness, and up to 9% deterioration in mental health .
These negative effects can, however, be mitigated if you are married and have a good social life, play sports or other physical activities, or work part-time after retirement.
The negative health effects of retirement may be worse if you were forced into retirement. According to National Institute of Aging, health issues have a big influence on any early retirement decision and its consequences.
US data Health and Retirement Study shows that retirees are 40% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who are still working. The increase in this probability was greatest in the first year after retirement, but leveled off thereafter.
A study in England found that retirement significantly increases the risk of being diagnosed with a chronic disease. In particular, retirement increases the risk of serious cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Positive effects of retirement
But other studies link retirement to improved health or show it to have a neutral effect on physical well-being.
One study found that retirement does not alter the risk of major chronic diseases.
This study also found that retirement can lead to a substantial reduction in mental and physical fatigue and symptoms of depression in people with chronic illnesses.
The impact of retirement on health may therefore depend on the individual.
In other words, if you loved your job, retirement can bring a certain sense of meaninglessness. On the other hand, if you had a stressful job, retirement may bring relief.
People who retire because of health issues may not enjoy their retirement as much as someone who retires feeling healthy.
Tips for a healthy retirement
Here are the four things you need to do to have a successful and enjoyable retirement:
Maintain daily contact with friends and colleagues as much as possible
Ensure your life continues to have purpose by continuing to engage in activities such as sports or travel
Keep your brain healthy by being creative…study an exciting subject, paint, play music, write, garden or help other people
Keep learning by exploring topics that have always interested you or new topics that you have recently found interesting.
It’s interesting to understand what large group studies say about retirement, but we’re all different and no study can predict how retirement will affect your life.
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