Retirement transition may influence living habits and time use. The researchers of the University of Turku, Finland, found that retirement transition also has an impact on the amount of sitting during free time. The daily amount of sitting during free time increased on average from four and a half to six hours during retirement transition. The time used for television viewing increased particularly.

“Sitting increased especially among women and those who had been sitting a great deal at work, had a low physical activity level, and who suffered from sleep difficulties, mental disorders or poor health before retirement,” says Postdoctoral Researcher and lead author Tuija Leskinen from the Public Health unit of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Turku.

Elderly people spend a significant amount of their wake time sitting, and especially television viewing is associated with obesity, diabetes and the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The hazards of sedentary behaviour can be reduced by taking breaks from sitting and increasing light activity throughout the day.

“More attention needs to be paid to the amount of sitting after retirement. Our research results suggest that there might be risk groups among those retiring that are more likely to increase the amount of sitting after their retirement transition. However, objective measurements of sedentary behaviour are still needed to confirm our results,” Leskinen states.

Finnish Retirement and Aging (FIREA) is an ongoing longitudinal cohort study at the University of Turku and its main goal is to investigate the changes in living habits, health and clinical risk factors during transition to statutory retirement. The research results are based on a sample that followed 2011 public sector employees who retired between 2014 and 2017 and responded a survey measuring the amount of sitting before and after retiring. The FIREA study is funded by the Academy of Finland, the Ministry of Education and Culture, and the Juho Vainio Foundation.

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