Study: An Active Social Life Helps Retirees Live Longer



retirees - swing

It is very easy to look forward to retirement and think about how fantastic it’ll be to avoid the morning commute, a demanding boss, or the restrictions that spending a whole day inside an office can place on a person’s life. For those who have already crossed the finish line into retirement, congratulations on your achievement!

Once retirement happens, however, we should remember that it’s especially important to not become a couch potato – it’s more important to continually thrive in the world around us.

According to a study recently published in the BMJ Open journal, retirees who keep an active social life live longer and maintain a better quality of life than those who don’t. In fact, just being a member of a club – be it for something like exercising, crafting, or playing euchre with friends – can make life after retirement much more plentiful.

For this study, researchers analyzed the lives of 424 Britons as they transitioned into retirement. Results showed that older adults, who participated in two social activity clubs before entering into retirement, had just a 2% risk of death in the first six years following retirement. That number increased to 5% as soon as one of those clubs was removed from the mix. Shockingly, the mortality rate increased to 12% if both clubs were abandoned.

What’s more, for every club a person left a year after retirement, quality of life dropped 10%, six years later.

Researchers of this study would go onto explain that being a part of social clubs increases self-esteem, resilience, mental health, as well as healthier habits. In a separate study published in the Journal of Social Science and Medicine, researchers determined that retirees who lead an active social life also sleep better than those who don’t. As we’re sure you know, being able to sleep well is of great benefit to your health.

Ask Dr. Zach - Feature ImageIf you’re interested in more health advice or insight like this, please tune in on Friday afternoons at 3 & 3:30pm ET/Noon & 12:30pm PT(beginning April 8) for back-to-back episodes of Ask Dr. Zach. 

In each episode of Ask Dr. Zachpeople with health concerns related to themselves, or those close to them, are able to receive one-on-one medical expertise from a knowledgeable and caring doctor that has seen it all. No question is too big, no question is too small.

Recently, CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) shed some light on the looming retirement crisis that Canadians are facing. CARP is a national, non-profit association promoting financial security, better access to health care, and freedom from discrimination as we age.

-Adam Grant

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