ISR Health and Retirement Study

Photo by ThinkstockA recent report featured in a Feb. 25 Forbes article adds new fodder to the debate about retirement’s impact on health. Some research has shown that impact to be negative. But according to a new report, using data from ISR’s Health and Retirement Study, retirement has a significant and beneficial effect on health. Michael Insler, an assistant professor of economics at the U.S. Naval Academy and author of the report, acknowledged that his conclusions go against the often accepted belief that people fall apart once they retire. Rather, he said, the increase in free time allows many individuals to devote more time and energy to healthy behaviors. Insler found a decrease in the percentage of people who smoke post retirement. He also discovered that 52% of respondents exercised strenuously for at least 30 minutes three or more times a week within two to four years of retiring, versus about 48 percent of respondents in the two to four years before they retired. “It’s less about your stress and satisfaction and more about the time you devote to your health upkeep,” Insler said.