Action-packed activities for adventurous older people
15th May 2019
Just because you’re growing older does not mean that you have to lose your sense of adventure. In fact, many people find that upon reaching retirement, they have more time to discover action-packed hobbies, diving head-first into adrenaline-fueled activities and days out. From horse riding and abseiling to white water rafting and rock climbing, there are myriad activities out there for you to try that prove that age is just a number.
Yearning for a sense of adventure is often accompanied by the determination to succeed. However, as with many hobbies, you may be filled with apprehension and self-doubt before starting out and getting to grips with the activity. It is important to remember that although you may be young at heart, your stamina may not be what it once was. Enlisting in the help of an at-home stairlift may be beneficial to help around the home, however, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have fun stepping out of your comfort zone every now and again!
Whether you’re getting back in the saddle for the first time since childhood or have decided to pursue a lifelong dream, horse riding is a fantastic, low-impact sport that is perfect for older people to enjoy. Not only does horse riding challenge you physically, but it allows you to develop emotional relationships, something which becomes increasingly important as you enter retirement. This is frequently a period of loneliness, as isolation can have a detrimental impact on your mental health. However, many older people can find the bond they create with their horse can be extremely fulfilling.
Horse riding allows you to strengthen your core, which is fantastic for balance improvement. With this in mind, you will be using muscles that you might not have exercised in a while, which can lead to muscle soreness and discomfort. If this is your first-time riding, start with smaller sessions, building up your confidence and giving your body time to adjust to the new movements it will be undertaking, before heading out for longer periods of time. Stretching before and after can aid your flexibility, helping you to sit more comfortably on the horse, but patience is the most beneficial thing to have with this activity.
Abseiling is fun for any ages as no previous experience is necessary. No matter your age, qualified instructors will be able to provide you with all the knowledge that you’ll need and will be on-hand to guide you on your latest adventure.
Challenging yourself with something as thrilling as abseiling is perfect if you’re looking to try something new. Plus, with indoor venues across the country, you can try your hand at the action-packed activity before venturing into the great outdoors.
We spoke to Lost Earth Adventures, a company that offers a variety of different outdoor activities for older people to try their hand at. They shared this with us: “We believe that a sense of adventure has no age limit and we regularly have older adventurers joining us to take part in our abseils as part of their bucket list.
“Lost Earth Adventures was founded on an undisputed passion for discovery and adventure. We help to encourage others to get out in the outdoors and enjoy a great adventure no matter how big or small. We operate throughout the UK, leading all sorts of adventurous activities. Our team is made up of passionate adventurers who aim to share their passion, knowledge and expertise to help inspire others.
“We aim to make all our sessions as accessible to people of all abilities as possible. We tailor each session to the individuals involved and their individual needs. We aim to accommodate everyone and make adventure accessible. In the past we’ve taken people from a wide range of age groups on adventures, we’ve helped those with different abilities achieve everything.
“Adventure is important at any age, whether it’s continuing a lifelong love of exploration and fun or discovering a new-found passion for some new activities. We truly believe that adventure is for everyone and that there shouldn’t be an upper age limit on a sense of adventure!”
Those with mobility issues needn’t feel left out when it comes to abseiling, as organisations such as the Calvert Trust can offer full support and guidance with a range of adventurous activities, including abseiling. Their Lake District location offers courses for those with low mobility, as well as Cerebral Palsy, ABI and sensory disabilities, with special courses available to wheelchair users. With abseiling on offer as part of their rock and rope package, those interested can also book to stay for a couple of days, taking full advantage of their accommodation. Each room comes equipped with a fully accessible, en suite bathroom. Other room features include raisable beds, manual hoists and room alarms to provide older adults and those with mobility issues peace of mind when staying away from home.
Whether it’s a crisp spring morning or a golden hour sail, kayaking is a peaceful activity that people of all ages can enjoy. Plus, if you have a sense of adventure, you can visit new locations whilst soaking up the incredible views of the countryside around you. Paddling can be a great way of improving your upper body strength, whilst allowing those who have mobility issues to partake in exercise. As the only person in your kayak, manoeuvring is easier than you may think, and, after a couple of sessions, you will soon feel competent.
Conversely, white water rafting is a great way to spend an afternoon. We spoke to Freespirits Online, who is an outdoor activity provider for all ages: “Freespirits is very much an outdoor activity provider for all ages, ranging from 6 to any upper age, although any medical conditions may have to be discussed prior to activity to ensure it is appropriate. The oldest participant we have taken down the river was 85 years old (my Mum) and she thoroughly enjoyed the trip. The rafting is definitely an activity for all but some of the other activities, such as canyoning and cliff jumping would warrant more investigation into suitability.
“Freespirits is a family run business started in 1995 by me. We specialise in providing outdoor activities for all ages and pride ourselves in ensuring all participants experience a safe, informative and fun activity. Steve has been involved in outdoor activities for over 35 years, including 8 years in commando forces working within the Adventure Training unit at 45 Commando, Royal Marine.
The company has gone from strength to strength over the years and now has its base at Grandtully, on the banks of the River Tay, the home of Scottish White-Water Rafting.
“The Freespirits centre has an accessible toilet, showering and changing facilities, along with an on-site restaurant and ample parking and would highly recommend white water rafting for older people”.
If white water rafting feels a bit too adventurous for you, why not attempt sailing? Formally known as Bristol Sailability, All Aboard Watersports are registered RYA Sailability Centre that aims to make sailing more accessible for those with mobility issues. Taking place on gentler waters, you can attempt the classes solo or accompanied by a specialist instructor who will join you via an access dinghy, all of "which are fitted with electric hand controls for those who have little strength or mobility in their upper limbs."
All Aboard Watersports is fully wheelchair accessible, including a lift, toilet, shower and changing facilities with a hoist. This access extends to the waterfront, where the hoist is on offer to help those with mobility issues ease themselves into the boats.
The Disabled Ramblers organise and run about 24 rambles a year in the countryside. They are between 5 and 8 miles long and vary in difficulty. We spoke to the organisation who shared some more information about their company: “We grade our rambles as Category 1 – suitable for people using manual wheelchairs. Category 2 – suitable for people using ‘normal’ Shopmobility type scooters and outdoor powerchairs. Category 3 – only suitable for those with heavy-duty, off-road capable scooters such as the Tramper.
“The Tramper is the scooter of choice for the National Trust and other similar organisations. As most of our rambles are Cat 3 and not everyone has a suitable scooter, we have 4 Trampers which we loan to our members for the duration of the ramble at £20 for the day. Membership (from 2020) costs £25 a year. Each ramble costs £8 for scooter users. Walkers are free and encouraged.
“Some rambles start and end at a visitor centre of some sort which has an accessible toilet and, sometimes, a café. However, we are often away from such luxuries all day, so we bring our own facilities. The trailer which carries the 4 Trampers is also a fully accessible toilet (when the Trampers are removed!). For comfort stops during the ramble, we take a mobile facility with us comprising a tent and Porta Potti. This is carried on a trailer which is pulled along behind one of the Trampers. In both cases, transfer can be direct from the scooter.”
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.