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Health and ER
Old 02-15-2013, 12:01 AM   #1
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Health and ER

I'm wondering if health and early retirement has been discussed here. I don't mean health care coverage in early retirement, but rather having improved health in early retirement by no longer working.

Most people have stressful jobs, especially these days where companies try to squeeze that last ounce of blood from the turnip (workers). Studies show that one of the major causes of heart disease and early death is lack of control (empowerment) in a stessful work place.

So I say hear hear to early retirement in not only extending our lives, but also enabling us to be physically active longer for cycling, hiking, swimming, jogging, travelling, or whatever else adds joy and added health in retirement.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:16 AM   #2
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I have seen occasional,mentions of studies that supposedly show correlation between early retirement and worse health, but they never adequately control for forced early retirement vs chosen early retirement. Obviously as a frequent visitor to these boards I have my own hopes and biases about this subject. I am hopeful that reduced stress will equal improved health outcome for me, but I cannot cite any proof for that.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:37 AM   #3
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You can find "studies" to support either POV on the internet (so I won't bother), as is the case with most subjects these days.

Retirees who engage in regular physical & mental activity, social interaction, eat healthy, drink in moderation (or not at all) and leave behind a stressful career are likely to see an improvement in their health & longevity. Those do the opposite (I'll spare you the descriptions) and were defined by their careers may be risking a decline in health & longevity.

Most probably fall somewhere in the middle, hopefully more the former...
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:41 AM   #4
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I for one am finding early retirement the best thing I could have possibly done in my life. I started my exercise and diet improvements prior to retirement and now exercise every day. This is all a function of time available and reduced stress. I have lost 75 pounds in 8 months, and have showed excellent improvement in all my numbers (Blood Pressure, etc.) at my last doctor appt 3 months ago. I highly recommend this lifestyle !
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:58 AM   #5
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I for one am finding early retirement the best thing I could have possibly done in my life. I started my exercise and diet improvements prior to retirement and now exercise every day. This is all a function of time available and reduced stress. I have lost 75 pounds in 8 months, and have showed excellent improvement in all my numbers (Blood Pressure, etc.) at my last doctor appt 3 months ago. I highly recommend this lifestyle !
Thanks to all, and especially to this post which is exactly what I expect when I retire at the end of next month. Losing weight, exercising, better diet, and positive attitude with the goal of lower blood pressure, which has creeped up year after year of stress and the day-long sedentary work life of sitting in front of a computer screen.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:06 AM   #6
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For whatever reason my BP has shot way up in retirement. Certainly bummed and hopefully it gets resolved. I have been able to spend more time on the bike and we are improving our diet quite a bit now that I'm not constantly on the road so that's a big plus.

Best of luck with your retirement, you must be in major countdown mode!
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:44 AM   #7
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For myself, within two years after ER, I was able to eliminate my Blood Pressure meds and am now 110/70 without them; lost 25 pounds from eating better and 'calmer,' cholesterol dropped from 205 to 156 w/o meds, sleeping better, and enjoying the basics a whole lot more. Works for me !!
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It has several distinct advantages
Old 02-15-2013, 10:47 AM   #8
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It has several distinct advantages

I was kind of forced into early retirement, literally because of an unexpected cancer diagnosis. Thankfully all is well for the moment. The point being that even, " forced retirement" as in my case can have positive effect. The end result being behavior modification. I agree with the OP that job stress and lack of opportunity for empowerment can lead to disease, perhaps I'm even proof of it. I also agree that having the time to exercise and eat right can make a huge difference in your life. I have lost 50 lbs., treatment induced, but I was overweight and have kept it off. The power to just, "be" is quite liberating and work impedes that path. Retire sooner rather than later when possible.
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:23 AM   #9
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Retire sooner rather than later when possible.
That'd make a great sig line...
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:39 AM   #10
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Welcome back, ratface! It's great to hear that you are doing well.
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:42 AM   #11
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Ratface, losing 50 pounds sounds like a wonderful unplanned outcome, since you said you needed it. I agree that having the time to exercise and eat right can make a huge difference.

Work was so hard on my health, that I think continuing to work would have led to my premature demise. Being retired is helping, but I think that had I retired earlier, it would have helped even more.

Getting older is not for sissies, as the saying goes. It seems to me that whether we are working or retired, there are going to be more and more health challenges the older we get. It's just that when we are retired, we have the time to take care of ourselves and make the healthiest choices.
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:47 AM   #12
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For whatever reason my BP has shot way up in retirement. Certainly bummed and hopefully it gets resolved. I have been able to spend more time on the bike and we are improving our diet quite a bit now that I'm not constantly on the road so that's a big plus.

Best of luck with your retirement, you must be in major countdown mode!
Thanks all and comments from JB. Keep up that biking and watching the diet, and I'm sure the BP will eventually come down. It does take a while for lifestyle changes to produce healthy numbers again. Thanks for the good wishes in my countdown!
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:49 AM   #13
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Two reasons I retired earlier than I had to do so:

1. There were a number of things I wanted to do while I had the health and vigor to do them, such as: travel, meet attractive vigorous women, study new subjects, meet attractive vigorous women, remodel my home, meet attractive vigorous women, volunteer to help others, meet attractive vigorous women, and a few more things.

2. Take better care of my health. It was pretty obvious that the stresses of work and the reality of my work day were not supporting making healthy choices in life. Exercise, good diet, time for things like meditation and self reflection did not exist. I was to tired and to stressed out both during and after the work day. Being retired has really helped me improve my overall level of health.
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:53 AM   #14
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"Retire sooner rather than later when possible."

That'd make a great sig line...

+1

As many have said before, No one looks up from their death bed saying "I should have spent more time at the office."
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:56 AM   #15
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One thing I've noticed since I semi-retired is that on days that I don't go to the office my overall physical activity level - even if I do formal exercise - is way down on those days.

I'm absolutely sure of that because I wear an accelerometer device which measures my movement. On days that I don't work I spend a lot of time on the computer doing a variety of things. That means I am sitting a lot. We downsized our house so now have a 1 story house. So even getting up and going to the kitchen or wherever in the house isn't that much movement. Yes, activity does go up when I go use my rower or do other formal exercise but even that isn't enough by itself for my activity for the day to meet what Weight Watchers would say is my baseline.

On the other hand, on days that I go to the office, just the act of traveling involves a bit more exercise and then I walk into the office and around the office. I often stop and do shopping on the way home and so walk around the grocery store or I may stop and run an errand.

On days that I don't go to the office I am more likely to stay at home. We are about 20 minutes away from most stores so we tend to accumulate trips for shopping for a single trip so on many days I don't actually leave the house. I have found that the only way to get sufficient activity in my day is to leave the house and go somewhere every day and not save up trips for a single day.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:01 PM   #16
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For myself, within two years after ER, I was able to eliminate my Blood Pressure meds and am now 110/70 without them; lost 25 pounds from eating better and 'calmer,' cholesterol dropped from 205 to 156 w/o meds, sleeping better, and enjoying the basics a whole lot more. Works for me !!
Excellent! I hope to follow my namesake here.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:24 PM   #17
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Two reasons I retired earlier than I had to do so:

1. There were a number of things I wanted to do while I had the health and vigor to do them, such as: travel, meet attractive vigorous women, study new subjects, meet attractive vigorous women, remodel my home, meet attractive vigorous women, volunteer to help others, meet attractive vigorous women, and a few more things.

2. Take better care of my health. It was pretty obvious that the stresses of work and the reality of my work day were not supporting making healthy choices in life. Exercise, good diet, time for things like meditation and self reflection did not exist. I was to tired and to stressed out both during and after the work day. Being retired has really helped me improve my overall level of health.
Good advice, and can't stop smiling at this (which is also supposed to lower BP).
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:08 PM   #18
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For myself, within two years after ER, I was able to eliminate my Blood Pressure meds and am now 110/70 without them; lost 25 pounds from eating better and 'calmer,' cholesterol dropped from 205 to 156 w/o meds, sleeping better, and enjoying the basics a whole lot more. Works for me !!
Richard, can you share any specifics you think may have resulted in dropping your cholesterol level? Many of us would like to know.
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:08 PM   #19
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Both myself and DW are healthier and fitter than when we were working. We joined a gym and started exercising a couple of years before retiring to get into shape for retirement. All the activities we have been doing since ER 3 years ago have improved our health even more. DW even took up running for the first time in her life, and goes running with a group of ladies outdoors twice a week, running between 4 and 5 miles each time (she is age 57).

I'm off to play singles tennis in 30 minutes time, I played a singles match yesterday. When I first took up tennis again I could only manage 1 game a week. Now I can play hard for ~90 minutes, and be ready next day to do it again. These days my resting heart rate is in the 40's (and I'm 58 yrs old). As it came down from the 60's to where it is now the Doc sent me for a treadmill stress test which I passed with flying colors.
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:42 PM   #20
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Richard, can you share any specifics you think may have resulted in dropping your cholesterol level? Many of us would like to know.
We changed our diet to be more plant based, although we eat (line caught) fish and occassional desserts. But every day, my breakfast is Oatmeal with berries and water (not milk). Five lunches a week I make 'shakes' consisting of: Kale, cabbage, broccoli, protein fiber, banana, avocado, and all the berries I have around. Dinners are just healthy eating mostly whether home or out. We've watched most of the food documentaries and pulled the eating pattern from those (Food, Inc,; Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead; The Future of Food; Food Matters; Forks Over Knives; The Beautiful Truth; The Gerson Miracle).
Sounds boring - but they are delicious to me, and I am loving the results. YMMV

Edit: Just reviewed lab results. In last year Total Cholesterol dropped from 220 to 156 with these changes.
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