German Study Says Retirement is Good for Your Health
According to new research, retirement is good for your health. German researchers say that retired people are using their leisure time to become healthier than they were when they were working.
The researchers analysed data on German retirees from 1994 to 2014, and found that retired people are more likely to rate their physical and mental health as satisfactory or better than working people are. The data showed that they visit the doctor less often, get an extra 40 minutes of sleep each day and are 10% more likely to exercise frequently. They’re also 6% less likely to smoke.
In addition, retirement is associated with improved mental health. Retirees were found to be generally happier and less stressed, partly because they have more time to do things they enjoy and indulge in their hobbies, as well as being able to spend more time with their family.
“My study shows older people will use leisure time to pursue an active lifestyle and improve their health,” says economist Peter Eibich, the study’s author. “This suggests incentives such as part-time work or partial retirement programmes might be effective in maintaining the health of older workers.”
Eibich’s data shows that 19% of workers retire shortly after turning 60 – the earliest retirement age – while 13% retire after their 65th birthday, the official retirement age until 2012. Comparing individuals slightly below with those slightly above these age thresholds makes it possible to determine the impact of retirement.
The study was presented at the annual congress of the European Economic Association in Mannheim, Germany, and contradicts the common belief that giving up work is the first stage in a person’s declining life. It shows that for many, retirement is an active and fulfilling time in their lives.