A team of researchers from Oregon State University has found that retiring early may increase the chances of dying early, suggesting that there is a strong relationship between work and life span.
For most people, work is a drag and retiring early seems like a good idea. The study, however, sheds light on the importance of keeping the mind and body active to boost the chances of living longer.
“It may not apply to everybody, but we think work brings people a lot of economic and social benefits that could impact the length of their lives,” Chenkai Wu, senior author of the study, said.
The findings show that working past the age of 65 years old could actually extend the life span, while retiring early may play a major role in earlier death. The researchers have also found that healthy adults who waited only one more year before they retired had a reduced risk of death by all cause.
Notably, even those adults who were deemed unhealthy benefited from a delayed retirement.
The team analyzed data of more than 12,000 people from the Healthy Retirement Study from 1992 through 2010. They focused on 2,900 people who had retired early by the end of the study.
About 12 percent of the healthy participants and 25.6 percent of those deemed unhealthy had died. For those healthy retirees and unhealthy retirees who worked longer before retiring had 11 percent and 9 percent reduced risk of death, respectively.
“Early retirement may be a risk factor for mortality and prolonged working life may provide survival benefits among US adults,” the researchers concluded in the study.
Further research is required to gain insight into the relationship between health and work, the researchers noted. The findings indicate that people who remain active may benefit from it by adding more years to their life. One question remains: Does this mean that if people retire early but stay engaged in physical activities like sports or exercise, they wouldn’t live longer too?
The findings have been published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health on March 21.