OCT 25, 2022 9:00 AM PDT

Retirement Increases Sleep and Decreases Exercise

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

New research published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity has shown that retirement increases time spent sleeping and decreases time spent exercising, with a particularly strong impact on moderate-to-vigorous exercise.

The study included 551 retiring public sector workers in Finland. The participants wore a fitness tracker for 24 hours per day for one week before they retired and for one week after they retired, with one year between the two measurements. The researchers tracked the time the participants spent sleeping and the time they spent participating in sedentary behavior, light physical activity, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

People who retired from manual work spent more time sleeping and participating in sedentary behavior relative to physical activity after they retired. People who retired from non-manual work spent more time sleeping relative to all other behaviors after retiring. In both the manual and non-manual groups, the proportion of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity decreased more than the proportion of light physical activity.

The authors noted that the changes in physical activity were likely explained by the absence of activity related to working and commuting rather than significant other behavioral changes. While getting enough sleep is associated with positive health outcomes, including improved heart health, a lack of exercise can have a significant negative impact on the heart and other parts of the body. Decreases in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity can increase the risk of both cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Decreased physical activity may also lead to unhealthy weight gain, which is associated with a host of health problems. Based on the findings of this study, retirees should focus on increasing their physical activity levels and the intensity of their exercise after retirement.

Sources: International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Science Daily

About the Author
PhD in Biophysics
Savannah (she/her) is a scientific writer specializing in cardiology at Labroots. Her background is in medical writing with significant experience in obesity, oncology, and infectious diseases. She has conducted research in microbial biophysics, optics, and education. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
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