Why retirement is the best way to keep fit and healthy

An older  couple on cycle ride in countryside
An older couple on cycle ride in countryside

It’s a source of amusement to me how much interest other people take in the older generation and whether they should retire or continue working.

I can see that working past retirement age is good for the government because workers pay tax. Of course, many retired people pay tax too but the government prefers to portray older people as a bit of a burden on the state. All kinds of researchers come up with statistics about the older generation and I was pleased to note that one such piece of recent research suggests that the best thing older people could do to get fit is to retire.

Sandra Chapman

Sandra Chapman

I could have told them that for nothing actually. Retirement and getting a dog means I can walk up a steep hill without getting puffed. Yet I can’t for the life of me imagine why Hillary Clinton, 69 years old in October, wants to run for President particularly as she rejected the idea when her grandchild was born as she said she wanted to spend time with her. She looks wonderful despite all the late nights and the handshaking she has to do. Continuing to work leaves her looking younger than ever.

Even though she has an army of staff running after her and I doubt she ever has to make as much as a cup of coffee, she has a smile that could light up America and I really do hope she wins the presidency.

The alternative candidate looks so mad and dishevelled all the time. You could just see him roughing up the splendid Oval Office when things aren’t going his way.

The retirement age for women is gradually increasing and in the not too distant future could hit 70 years but I didn’t know that in China the retirement age for women is 55. In charge of this latest research into women’s lives is Dr Melody Ding, whose mother, she says had been anxious about leaving her job at such a young age but now enjoys so many hobbies she can’t remember how she had time to work. Dr Ding, whose work on the subject is published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine, with her team studied 25,000 retired Australians and found that when they stopped working, physical activity increased by an average of 93 minutes a week and sitting down decreased by 67 minutes per day, and that had considerable health benefits.

They also found that half of women who smoked before retirement stopped it. The changes meant they were able to sleep better and enjoy their hobbies.

Another study, involving 6,000 people, by Aviva insurance suggests that when people grow older and retire they are much happier. In fact happiest of all were the over-75’s with two thirds in this age group very content with their lives. Least content though were those retirees living in London whilst happiest were pensioners in the East Midlands. My wider family has a large younger element who are already talking about the fact they may not be able to retire before 70 particularly as the state pension may not even exist in 40 or 50 years from now.

Seventy doesn’t seem that old to me – after all that’s the age I’ll be in less than a month – and I find it difficult to believe that I have been retired almost a decade. What did I do in those last 10 years and where did the time go? Retirement has helped keep me fit and healthy and I would recommend it for any individual because those last decades fly by quickly.

A few MPs have suggested that women should be allowed to retire early but on a lower pension.

This, says the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, would mean there would be no overall cost to the public purse. Women working in the private sector would lose out badly under such a scheme; those in the public sector with their inflation proofed pensions would be queueing up to sign on the dotted line.