Retirement is Bad for Your Health

Posted by Bianca Doran on May 29, 2015

Retirement is Bad for Your Health

To retire or not to retire? This question has challenged many people as they begin to wonder if they are financially stable to call it quits. Would this decision be easier if retirement negatively affected your health? A report published in the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs found retirement can increase the chances of depression by 40% as well as increase the chances of a physical disorder by 60%.

Mental & Physical Health

The director of research at the Centre for Market Reform of Education and author of the IEA report Gabriel Sahlgren looked at 9,000 people within eleven European Union countries.  He found that people suffered similar mental challenges after work retirement. Within the first year of retirement, he actually found that health improved. Two or three years later however, mental and physical health started to deteriorate.  Gabriel’s findings are not far off from previous studies. Dhaval Dave, associate professor at Bentley University, looked at 12,000 Americans between 1992 and 2005. He found that there was an increase in hypertension, heart disease, stroke and arthritis within six years of retiring.

And though retirement age varies from country to country, studies have shown similar physical and mental challenges regardless of age.

Stay Active & Social

One of the biggest reasons for the decline in health in retirement years is the loss of having a social network. Relationships stimulate the mind and without them one can feel lonely. “Research suggests that loneliness leads to mental illness and that could lead to physical illness because you stop taking care of yourself,” Sahlgren says. Another factor may be reduced income, forcing you to cut corners that affect your health, such as cheaper foods and loss of insurance.

Continuing to stay active and social is what many researchers are saying is essential to a healthy life after retirement. If you are financially able to retire, continue to ‘work’ for a passion or a beloved hobby and transition into activities that still keep your mind and body active. Many countries are seeing longer life expectancies than they did just fifty years ago. Some doctors suggest rather than retiring cold turkey, lessening your hours may be more beneficial for your health.

It is essential to keep your mind stimulated and sharp after retirement. Here are a few ways for retirees to stay actively engaged after work:

  • Waking Up Early: One of the most satisfying experiences is not having any alarm dragging you out of bed way too early. After catching up on sleep you should still find a desire to wake up early and decide for yourself what you want to do that day.  Waking up early and refreshed gives you more of a desire to embark on adventures you always wanted to do.
  • Exercise: Physical activity is something you should never retire from. Choose a physical activity that is best for your lifestyle and your body. Use this free time as a way to work on your mind, body and overall health.
  • Mind Stimulation: It is essential to keep your mind sharp after work. Choose activities that will keep your mind engaged such as reading and puzzles. Enroll in classes you always found interesting from the comfort of home. Learning another language or how to play an instrument are some examples of how to keep challenging your mind. 

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