We all work hard for a living, so it’s no wonder that most of us dream about the day when we can actually… well, stop working for a living. You know, freedom 55, a house in Florida, travelling the world and all that jazz.
But what if retiring early actually isn’t as good for our overall health as we previously thought? As it turns out, working for the man a little longer than the tender, young age of 55, 60 or 65 could actually be better for us in the long run. Or at least that’s the word from England’s top doctor.
In the U.K.’s annual state of the public health report, Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, recommends people aged 50-70 should continue working in order to reap the physical and mental health benefits that a work environment can offer. But before you go spending some of that RRSP money you were planning to set aside this year, it’s important to note that the study doesn’t necessarily recommend staying in the same job that you’re in until that age. Instead, it promotes part-time work doing something you love, or volunteering.
“People are living longer than ever and so retirement presents a real opportunity for baby boomers to be more active than ever before,” Davies explains in the report. “For many people, it is a chance to take on new challenges–it is certainly not the start of a slower pace of life it once was. Staying in work, volunteering or joining a community group can make sure people stay physically and mentally active for longer.”
These recommendations came after the report looked at the physical, mental and sexual health of 50-70-year-olds, and found that while the overall life expectancy for that age group has increased thanks to better healthcare, one-third of the group was obese. Furthermore, roughly two-thirds of the group hadn’t bothered with more than 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise in a month’s time frame, and 42 per cent of those aged 50-64 were living with a health condition or disability. Diabetes, depression, anxiety and suicide were other concerns noted within the group.
According to Davies, being in some sort of a work environment naturally forces exercise and social interaction, which can help counter some of these problems. Plus, it’s just a really great time to take advantage of learning something or doing things you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time to, thanks to the commitments surrounding your old job.
Let’s be honest. We’ve always suspected that being bored after retirement was a real thing; this report just confirms the importance of finding things to keep you physically and socially engaged once you do decide to hang up those work boots. If you ever actually do.