One way to deal with the issues some men face in retirement is to keep working. A recent study from Oregon State University found that people who retired at age 66 were 11 percent less likely to die from any cause than those who retired just one year earlier. It turns out that the daily grind of work and responsibility that some men feel throughout their careers actually works to their advantage as they get older.
Researchers believe that the cognitive and social stimulation that work provides can help lower stress levels and make you more attuned to your body’s needs. This, in turn, can lead to eating healthier, engaging in regular exercise, taking any prescribed medications and making regular doctor’s visits. You could say that work gives you a sense of purpose — to live longer, to provide and to be responsible for loved ones.
Studies have confirmed that retirees who stay active and involved tend to avoid or better cope with common retirement concerns. If you need more to do with all that spare time, consider pursuing a hobby you enjoy or starting a new one. You want to find some type of exercise that you enjoy and can stick with for the long term. That may include playing tennis or golf, but consider adding another activity that will be there for you once your body says it’s time to slow down. The earlier you make regular fitness a common, everyday routine, the more likely you are to continue it when you’re much older — and need it more to help maintain mobility.
Think about ways you can give back, because this will help restore some of those feelings of responsibility and being a provider that you might miss during retirement. How about volunteering with a charity or church group? Another way to stay intellectually engaged is taking up studying a subject that interests you. Take an online course or go back to school, even just to audit classes at your local college. This will give you a place to go, a time to be there, people to engage with, opportunities to think creatively and intellectually, and the opportunity to walk around campus for daily exercise.
The important thing is, don’t get set in your ways with static days that do not include exercise, social and intellectual engagement. Get out there and engage with the world — the energy you invest in these pursuits can provide strong returns in retirement.