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Switching up your experience – staying ‘on it’ during later life with outdoor activities

Kelly Slater (the world’s most successful competitive surfer – Google him if you don’t know who he is) was recently quoted as saying: ‘I want to still be surfing Backdoor (again Google this if you’re not aware) when I’m 90.’ Having read up on ‘Slats’ you’ll have noticed how committed he is to a healthy lifestyle, therefore there’s a good chance his twilight years will indeed be spent doing the thing he loves most – getting tubed.

And what of the rest of us?

While we may not be a x12 surfing champion there are countless enthusiasts, of various outdoor pursuits, all wanting to slide into old age able to continue their active pastime. But how plausible is this? After all, with more on our plate than simply having to go surfing, staying fit and healthy (the key to active longevity) is tricky.

Modern life often conspires against us. Work and family commitments aren’t exactly a good recipe for maximising your hobby time. And with plenty of distraction, plus pressure to be ‘bad’ with diet, how feasible is it remaining involved with physically demanding pursuits as we get older?

As humans we’re all at the mercy of temptation. And we all like ‘nice’ things. IF, however, we want to be as active as possible, for as long as we’re allowed to be, then there does need to be a degree of compromise. While we’re not suggesting everyone become a super hero health nut staying subtle, moderating intake of ‘bad stuff’ (such as alcohol and chocolate) while maximising windows of opportunity around work, family and other commitments is a good idea. We’re not going to get into a longwinded post about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle – there’s plenty of other info online regarding this. These articles are definitely worth looking up, however, and while we’ll inevitably fall off the wagon at times adopting some good practices (and being fairly consistent with them) will help in the long run.

Something else to consider is switching up the experience. In some instances our bodies will simply give up. Joints and muscles may show wear and tear as we get older making that once easily doable rip, shred ‘n’ tear surfing session a distant memory. There’s a tendency to can it when this kind of situation occurs, when actually there’s no need. OK, so you may not be charging macking 8-10ft barrels when you’re post-50. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t and won’t enjoy surfing still. Grabbing a longboard and reacquainting yourself with flow and style, while maximising small swells, is one of the ways you can change your surfing game. It’s no less fun and will keep you gliding well into your latter life, full of stoke and joy.

Obviously the above talks about one sport but there are lots of other ways of changing the experience to suit your body’s evolution. Keep one eye on other areas of your life and be ready to adapt moving forwards. This way there’s no reason to not remain as active and in touch with your outdoors lifestyle as you have been previously.

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