Stay active for longer

Posted on: 31 March 2015 by Lynda Shaw

Dr Lynda Shaw challenges you to rediscover your adventurous side and feel younger!

Older couple in car

At the start of each year, or perhaps on our birthday, many of us make resolutions to ‘live life to the full’ but we can easily end up failing to reach our goal within a few weeks as normal life just takes over or we feel better at just sticking to what we know. But being over 50 shouldn’t be a hindrance to our adventurous aspirations; it should be the key to trying new things and having new adventures!

Agatha Christie once said, “I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming... suddenly you find - at the age of 50, say - that a whole new life has opened before you.” We all know it’s important to stay active as we enter our fifties plus, with research showing that physical activity helps prevent heart disease, dementia and some cancers, as well as protecting our independence. But it’s not just about the exercise – we need adventure and excitement in our lives!

Our fifties and beyond may open up a possibility of travel without the ‘burden’ of a mortgage or the children. Over the past decade the over-fifties travel market has taken a shift from the traditional beach holidays to more exciting adventurous holiday destinations such as Cambodia and Bolivia. As we get older our comfort zones shrink but if we keep trying to expand them, we'll open ourselves up to greater fulfillment. More and more of us are seeing these advantages and choosing to hike Mount Kota Kinabalu in Borneo or trekking up the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

The UK cruise market is also booming with more over-fifties choosing to explore the world by sea. Nevertheless some cruise-goers pass on the adventurous activities on their trip, instead content with a spot of sightseeing and roaming around on deck. Activities such as rock-climbing and scuba-diving will not only give you an amazing anecdote to tell your friends, but will give you an adrenalin kick that will help you de-stress and stay young for as long as possible!

However some of us cannot afford to spare the time or money for a thrill-seeking two-week holiday due to work or family commitments, but this doesn’t mean we can’t be adventurous. The advantages of exercise as we age can never be overstated, benefitting us both physically and mentally. Physically, a workout will improve our strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn will help with balance, coordination, and reducing the risk of falls. Choose a new form of exercise that you have never tried.  Whether it be archery, pilates or cycling, have a go at something new, but do understand your limits when exercising as your recovery time from exercise can be longer than it used to be.

Take up a new hobby, pierce your nose or start a film club – just so long as its safe but perhaps not an activity that you might normally do – I would say just go for it!

Top Tips to Find Your Adventurous Side

1.      Step out of your comfort zone: When booking a holiday or staying at home, always look to slightly push the boundaries because the reward is so much greater.

2.      Plan less: Planning can be really useful but sometimes it spoils the fun. Be spontaneous when you can – the opportunities are endless and often exciting.

3.      What are your ambitions? Make a bucket list: Note down all the things that you have ever wanted to do from learning to wolf whistle to going to Australia. They can be big or small but make sure you do them all!

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