Early retirement may be able to boost your longevity, research finds. According to Forbes, a recent study published in the journal Health Economics found that men who retired as early as the age of 54 had a lower mortality rate compared to those who continued to work.
The study, led by a group of Danish economists at the University of Amsterdam, analyzed a group of men who retired from the civil servant industry by the age of 54 in 2005. Using Dutch administrative micro panel data, researchers found that those who retired were 42% less likely to die within the next five years compared to those who continued to work.
These numbers speak volumes for American workers who retire at the average age of 63. However, a previous article published by the New York Times earlier this year points out that it may not be early retirement itself that promotes a longer life.
Rather, it’s adopting an active lifestyle with reduced stress in retirement that may cater to greater longevity. Take vacationing for instance.
Approximately 52% of respondents in a global survey reports that they planned to vacation at the beach within the next 12 months. However, American workers are less likely to use their vacation days than any other western country.
One of the leading causes for missing vacation days for American employees is the fear of returning to a mountain of work. Once retired, Americans are able to relax and lead the active lifestyles they may not be able to lead in an office environment.
For example, approximately 90% of Americans believe a well-maintained yard is important. Retirement gives homeowners the ability to maintain their yards and garden, which can actually serve as a surprising way to increase your heart rate.
What’s more, early retirement makes it easier to get greater amounts of sleep, visit doctors regularly, exercise regularly, sit less, and eat a healthier diet. Forbes reports that those who retire early are also less likely to die from stroke and cardiovascular disease.
It’s this physical aspect of retirement that may make continuing to work just as healthy depending on the job. For instance, retiring from a desk job may make one more active but retiring from a physically active job may make one less active.
It’s for this reason, as well as the mental stimulation work provides, that many Americans who have retired are returning to the workforce.
A Pew Research Center analysis found that the number of Americans over the age of 65 who were employed, either full-time or part-time, has increased by 6% between 2000 and 2016. In fact, more than 50% of those who were employed over the age of 65 worked full-time.
“We asked people over 50 who weren’t working, or looking for a job, whether they’d return if the right opportunity came along,” said Dr. Kathleen Mullen, a RAND senior economist. “About half said yes.”
Whether one chooses to return to work or stay in retirement, the bottom line remains the same. The more you take care of yourself and your body, you’ll be less likely to suffer from illness and disease later in life whether you’re a worker or a retiree.