-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers may have
spotted another benefit from retirement: reductions in tiredness
The Swedish team analyzed data from more than 11,000 men and
almost 2,900 women in France who were surveyed for seven years
before and seven years after they retired. Most (72 percent)
retired between the ages of 53 and 57 and all were retired by the
age of 64.
In the year before retirement, 25 percent of the participants
suffered from depression and 7 percent were diagnosed with one or
more of the following conditions: diabetes, respiratory disease,
heart disease or stroke.
After retirement, there was a substantial decrease in mental and
physical fatigue, and a smaller but significant decrease in
depression. However, rates of chronic diseases did not decrease
after retirement and gradually increased with age, as expected,
according to Hugo Westerlund, an associate professor of psychology
at the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University in Sweden,
The researchers wrote that "if work is tiring for many older
workers, the decrease in fatigue could simply reflect removal of
the source of the problem . . . furthermore, retirement may allow
people more time to engage in stimulating and restorative
activities, such as physical exercise."
The study authors concluded that their findings "indicate that
fatigue may be an underlying reason for early exit from the labor
market and decreased productivity, and redesign of work, health
care interventions or both may be necessary to enable a larger
proportion of older people to work in full health."
The study is published in the Nov. 24 online edition of
Noting that the findings contradict other studies, Alex Burdorf,
a professor in the determinants of public health in the
Netherlands, says in an accompanying editorial that without further
research, it is too early "to make definite claims about positive
and negative benefits from retirement at a particular age.
The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about
health and retirement.
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