It’s a fact that as we age, certain physical activities need to be curtailed. Most of us in our 60s can’t do cartwheels and backflips any more – but that doesn’t mean that sports and fitness need to take a permanent backseat. For avid sportspeople, giving up that hobby and exercise would mean a loss of their livelihood and an integral part of their personalities.
People who have chased the adrenaline rush of extreme activities their whole lives needn’t give it all up the moment they start getting out of breath faster than they used to. However, it might take a switch of hobby to something less punishing on the body. Most activities should be able to be carried on, as long as you keep fit in general and haven’t sustained an injury.
Here are some extreme sports that, potentially, even octogenarians can partake in without compromising safety OR thrills.
For anyone of any age, skydiving is one of the most exhilarating experiences we can have in life. It features on plenty of bucket lists for that reason! Luckily, jumping out of a plane whilst strapped to an instructor isn’t restricted to youth.
Of course, there are a few more risks associated with older people when skydiving – for example, you probably won’t be permitted to jump if you have heart problems or other age-related illnesses. But, if you’re still fit as a fiddle, there’s no reason why not.
Scuba diving is a wonderful way to explore the ocean, especially in the clear, warm waters of the Caribbean or Australia. The benefits of swimming for seniors are plenty, too – it can help to lower blood pressure, strengthens the heart and has minimal impact on the joints. Combine that with getting up close with tropical fish and you’ve got a winner!
As long as you’ve got experienced diving instructors with you, a calm ocean and an easy route, the over 60s should be able to enjoy scuba diving as much as any teenager.
Golf – a sport stereotypically linked with men of a certain age – is often considered boring and slow. But what if you were to take a swing from the top of a cliff, or play on a course located on a moving ice shelf?
Extreme golfing locations include the South African Legend Golf Resort, where the tee for the 19th hole requires a trip up a cliff in a helicopter; and Uummannaq in Greeland, where each year a golf course is laid across icy tundra. Those looking for a new (or specialist) senior golf club can find them recommended by BC Golf News’ website.
Cycling is another great low-impact exercise for seniors, and those who have enjoyed cycling all their life needn’t give it up when they approach a certain age. Extreme biking can be done in exciting locations, like up mountains and through forests.
All you need is a safe route, a specialist bike, all the safety gear, and off you go!
Running is an exercise that is regularly carried throughout old age, and if done carefully, you could be running right into your 90s! As people age, they tend to set bigger and bigger challenges for themselves, and not much is bigger than accomplishing a marathon.
Completing a marathon can be done safely as a senior, as long as you listen to your body and embrace a lower pace.
The Health & Safety Bits
According to statistics from extreme sports insurers and safety agencies, rates of senior citizens getting involved in high-risk activities has dramatically risen over the last decade. Some have analyzed that this is due to older people having more money to spend on adventure holidays and the like; while others put it down to them enjoying their retirement and ‘last hurrahs’.
However – it’s undeniable, and should be respected, that older bodies don’t function or repair as easily as younger ones. Older people should do what they please – but do it in the knowledge that if they’re injured, it could be irreversible. Whatever you do, always follow safety advice to protect yourself and those around you. If your loved one has unfortunately reached a point where 24-hour care is needed, you can transfer them to a nursing home. Just make sure to visit them often and look for signs of physical abuse in a nursing home.