Women sit more after retirement

Research we're watching

Published: February, 2021

If you're looking forward to having some extra downtime after retirement, just make sure it doesn't bring more sitting-down time. A study published online Nov. 17, 2020, by the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that on average, women saw a sharp increase in sedentary time — more than an additional 20 minutes each day — after they retired compared with when they were working. This is an unhealthy pattern that can lead to a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

Researchers identified this trend by looking at data on nearly 700 people (nearly 85% of them women) from a Finnish study. Most of the participants worked in administrative roles or held professional positions before retiring at an average age of 63. To provide objective measurements of activity, the participants wore activity monitors continuously for a full week during their one or two years both before and after retirement. The spike in sedentary time occurred after retirement, and remained at the reduced level for the next two years or more following retirement. Men, by contrast, saw a gradual decline in their activity level over time, but no sudden spike after they left their jobs. So, if you're retiring in the near future, it may be worth keeping an eye on your activity level to make sure you don't slow down after you leave your job.

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