How To Retire Better

Men's Health |

You’ve spent years getting your financials into order, but what about your health?

Retirement is a major life change that can affect physical activity levels.

A systematic review of 19 articles examined the effect of retirement on physical activity. Exercise and leisure-time physical activity increased after retirement, but the effect of retirement on total physical activity was mixed.

Socioeconomic status affected physical activity following retirement, with lower SES associated with decreases in physical activity and higher SES with increases in physical activity.

From this, and a couple other articles that I saw but did not Sieve because I had not yet seen the pattern, it appears that retirement is good time to promote programs aimed at improving diet and activity levels.

More Physical Exercise Linked To Less Age-Related Brain Shrinkage

If you want to preserve your mental facilities as you get older put down the crossword and take a walk. A study of 691 older adults found that greater physical activity was associated with less brain shrinkage than doing mentally or socially stimulating activities was.

Brain shrinkage is associated with memory and thinking problems. The study participants were all born in 1936. At age 70 they were asked about their physical, mental, and social activities. At age 73 they underwent MRI scans to measure brain volume and composition.

Compared to people with minimal levels of activity, those who got more physical activity has less brain shrinkage and other age-related brain changes.

However, greater engagement in mentally and socially stimulating activities was not associated with less brain shrinkage.

The authors note that this observational study cannot determine the direction of causation. On one hand more activity could lead to better brain function, but on the other hand better brain function could lead to being more physically active. Randomized trials are needed to determine causality.