Planning Your Retirement? Your Health Will Thank You For It

15/03/2016 2:32 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Senior woman holding paddle board overhead on beach

If you needed one more reason to bring forward hanging up your work boots, new research shows retiring not only promotes better health, but it's likely there may be a correlation between being a female smoker and ditching the cigarettes upon ceasing work.

Researchers at The University of Sydney in association with the Sax Institute looked at the lifestyle behaviours of 25,000 Australians over a 3.5 year period, aged 45 and above, with the average age of 60 and found of the women who had retired, 50 percent of those who smoked before retirement had quit.

“For men, we really didn’t see any behavioural change with the smoking,” Dr Melody Deng, senior research fellow and lead researcher from the 45 And Up Study told The Huffington Post Australia.

While the data doesn’t reveal exactly why the women decided to quit, Deng said hypotheses around the removal of stress is her best guess.

“A lot of people associate stress with work, so without the stressor, quitting may well become more achievable,” Deng said.

The study, published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine also found significant increases in physical activity and sleep among those who had retired.

“Retirees were exercising up to 94 minutes more per week and sleeping for 11 minutes longer than their working counterparts each night,” Deng said.

With time being quoted as one of the biggest barriers to exercise, Deng said this result was not surprising however, it was unknown whether this increase would be maintained long-term.

Researchers also looked at sedentary time and found retirees sit for 67 minutes less than those still working.

“We saw the largest reduction in sitting time in those who live in urban areas and have a university education,” Deng said.

This was largely due to the fact a large portion of the retirees had an office job and no longer spent up to two hours commuting each day.

Deng said the findings reflect the importance for health professionals and policy-makers to develop programs that capitalise on the positive behavioural changes of retired Australians.

Bring on the beach, we say.

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