Pensioners extreme sports have increased dramatically in the last 10 years, UK survey shows.
Ski holiday specialists Inghams have been shocked to discover that the most adventurous age group among potential customers is not 18 to 24-year-olds but over-65s. In a UK survey of all age groups they discovered that over-65s were keen to try out extreme sports such as skiing, snowboarding and mountain climbing, and although many said they would love to go on a cruise, they would be up for a mountain holiday – in summer or winter. While only 15% of 18- to 24-year olds said they would try kiteboarding, 35% of pensioners said they would love it. But the most attractive sport for over-65s was snowboarding, with 50% saying they would like to give it a go, most saying that they are tired of ‘fitting the cliche’.
One pensioner proving the point is 71-year-old Rex Willoughby, who last March tackled the Gokyo Ri summit climb to raise money for a charity set up in aid of his grandson, Harrison, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. When Rex turned 60 he climbed Kilimanjaro and took up water rafting, and most years he runs a marathon. Rex’s adventurous lifestyle comes after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in his mid-40s. After surviving the health scare, he decided to try as many new things as possible while he still could. He goes to the gym every day, takes daily walks and swims three times a week but despite his healthy lifestyle even Rex has to listen to his body sometimes. A few months ago he suffered a heart attack and has had to put off his plan to go skydiving – not that he intends to let it ground him for good. “I told my family that if they ever received a call to say I had died in the mountains, I want them to celebrate that I died up there with a smile on my face,” he says. “I would rather die doing this than be in a hospital bed with Alzheimer’s.”Another extreme activity that pensioners seem to be enjoying is motorcycling, understandably so. However, what’s puzzling is the £340 million more that is being spent on motorbikes every year by 50+ riders. A study shows that 80% of the older riders asked said that they enjoyed ‘the freedom of the open road’, while a further 16% said it was to ‘reduce stress’. This is shown by the fact that the top three motorcycles used by older riders are 1) Suzuki Bandit, 2) Honda VFR and 3) Honda CBR. These bikes are cruisers and sports bikes and are most commonly used for long, tour-like rides, which usually means the motorcycle is built with comfort in mind. What’s even more interesting is the amount of older female riders compared to the younger ones, more than double! From what we can see, it looks like it is all people who wanted a bike in their youths but never had the time, money or commitment.
In addition to this, a 97-year-old pensioner has been found to be the world’s oldest rally driver! Perhaps extreme sports in the older generation is more common than we think. Have you tried or would like to try an extreme sport? Let us know in the comment section below.