So, you've reached retirement — congratulations! Even if you've looked forward to this milestone for years, the transition to retired life can be unmooring. After the novelty wears off, you may start to crave some structure and purpose in your daily routine.
Before you fall down the rabbit hole of reading retirement advice online, take a look at our list of four data-backed tips for new retirees. These tried-and-true tactics can help you live your best life as you begin this next chapter.
1. Do Good for Your Community — And Your Health
Many people spend time volunteering during retirement, and the benefits go well beyond making a difference in their communities.
Volunteering can reduce stress, lower the risk of depression and even help you live longer, according to the Mayo Clinic. Research also shows that seniors who volunteer can experience improved health and decreased feelings of isolation — through volunteering, you can meet new people with similar interests.
2. Pick Up a Part-Time Job
A 2018 study out of the U.K. showed that verbal memory — the ability to recall things we hear or read — declines quickly when people retire from the workforce. But the study wasn't all doom and gloom: Researchers found that "cognitively stimulating activities associated with employment" could help ward off cognitive decline in older age.
If you've thought about finding a part-time job or side gig, this can be an excellent way to prevent cognitive decline and earn a little extra spending money in retirement, too.
3. Meet Your Step Goal
You've heard it a million times: Exercise is one of the keys to good health. Now, researchers have found that walking a certain number of steps per day not only boosts health but also improves mortality rate.
A 2020 study from the National Institute on Aging found that adults who take 8,000 steps per day (rather than 4,000 steps) have a 51% lower risk of death from all causes. The mortality risk lowers by a whopping 65% for adults who take 12,000 steps per day compared to those who take only 4,000.
Get your steps in with activities you enjoy, such as hiking, gardening or walking the dog. Need some motivation? Hold yourself accountable by scheduling a regular walking date with a friend or joining an exercise class.
4. Get Outdoors
A little bit of fresh air can do wonders for your physical and mental health during retirement. Spending time outdoors can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure, and a boost in vitamin D can prevent a whole slew of conditions, from depression to type 2 diabetes.
Honing your green thumb is one way to start spending more time outdoors: Gardening offers numerous health benefits in retirement, including lowering the risk of dementia.
By following this retirement advice and making data-backed decisions, new retirees can make the most of the early days of retired life.