I asked several older friends of mine what they had wanted to do once they turned sixty. Many of their suggests were unprintable here! But I was able to come up with a TOP 5 things to do and my thoughts on how they could achieve these:
- Do something new
This, for me, was the easiest one to answer. Take up hill-walking. “But we haven’t walked very far in years!” In that case start with a few gentle walks around the neighbourhood slowly increasing the distance and length of time spent outside. When you feel comfortable look for your local hill and walk to the top. Again, slowly increase the height of the hills you walk up and before you know it you will be heading for the higher hills and the longer walks.
- Get fitter
This pretty well links in with the previous answer. However, the one who suggested this had spent all his life either sat in his car or behind a desk – he was very unfit. I had suggested nice short walks along the river on a sunny Sunday afternoon, even a long walk to a pub – but all to no avail. Until his Grandson said he was doing a walk with his Beaver Colony and wanted Grandad to come along as well. Inspired by his Grandson’s wish to walk he went and thoroughly enjoyed himself. Now he walks for pleasure – so if you are that unfit and need inspiration look no further than your Grand Children.
- Go backwoods camping
At an age when one would expect to stay in a 5 star hotel, or at the very least a Caravan, this was a surprise. For the benefit of the younger generation backwoods camping is what we called wild camping back in the day. I was brought up camping and have done it all my life. So the response was straight forward – get yourself along to the local camping shop and buy a tent and a sleeping bag. However, do not head for the hills on your first night, instead spend a night at a local campsite or even the back garden. You never know your mind may have happy memories of camping but reality has changed – in which case donate the tent and sleeping bag to your Grand Children!
- Act like a child
This was a difficult one to respond to as its been a long time since I was a child! But it was during a recent walk that the inspiration for this one came to me. I watched a couple of parents with a youngster, maybe 4-5 years old. They were all having a lovely walk, the parents were talking and enjoying the scenery whilst their daughter was ahead of them jumping into every puddle she could find. As I passed them I said “she’s enjoying herself” and the response was “it’s what children do”. So my response to my elder statesmen is look at kids and copy them – but most importantly, have fun.
- Travel around Britain
My colleagues, like many other people in the UK spend their summer holidays jetting off to hotter and more exotic locations. They never give a thought to the beauty and splendour of the British Isles. Yet this wonderful group of islands perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean has some of the best places in the world to visit. Apart from our great and well preserved heritage there are the 15 majestic National Parks – Britain’s breathing spaces. Stay in your 5 star hotels, but spend your days exploring, driving, walking, sailing, doing whatever you fancy in one of these great national treasures.
To be perfectly honest these five things apply to all age groups, not just the over 60’s. We are a nation where a quarter of the British public won’t walk anywhere that takes more than 15 minutes and three quarters of us won’t walk to work or the shops. We are an unfit nation with figures showing that 11.3 million people do less than 30 minutes’ activity a week.
Be inspired, be determined, be active – GetOutside and enjoy this wonderful land we call home.