Here’s the typical snapshot of retirement: rest and relaxation, along with the possibility of new aches and pains. But a study from the University of Sydney paints a rosier picture: The golden years can be golden for your health, too.
A study of more than 25,000 Australian retirees found that seniors actually enjoyed better health after retirement than before they hung up their work clothes. They sat less, moved more and slept better.
The study participants, who quit working at an average age of 63, said they increased their activity time by 90 minutes a week and slashed their sitting time by about an hour each day. They also snoozed an average of 11 minutes more each day, and half the women quit smoking after they retired. The findings were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
All of these factors, especially exercise, are critical to preventing heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of more intense exercise.
Another key to a happy retirement is maintaining a sense of purpose. Experts recommend keeping hobbies, volunteering in the community or spending quality time with loved ones. Staying in touch with a social network is important, too.
Need another way to keep yourself feeling young and spry? Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoid foods with trans fats, processed meats, too much sugar and fatty foods. Don’t toast too often to retirement, either — excessive alcohol can accelerate aging. Moderate drinking is considered one drink per day for women or two for men.
With a little effort, your retirement years can be golden.