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Michigan, U.S.A. — A new generation is redefining retirement by diving into high-energy activities and seeking new experiences – from motorcycle riding and hiking to kayaking and white-water river rafting.
One of the nation’s active adult community builder reports that high-energy clubs and activity groups are gaining popularity across the nation, with health and fitness emerging as a top interest among both Del Webb residents and prospective home buyers.
“Recreational interests among Baby Boomers are more diverse than ever before. Sure, golf and tennis are still popular, but now so are outdoor adventure activities like canoeing and kayaking, marathon running, rock climbing, off-roading and even sky diving,” said Judy Julison, Del Webb’s national director of lifestyle. “I’ve worked in the industry for more than 30 years and have never seen a more diverse group of people with so many varying interests.”
Julison added that expectations about age, vitality and quality of life continue to be redefined and emphasize the importance of physical activity for many Del Webb residents. Advancements in health care and improved access to wide variety of fitness and wellness oriented programs have contributed to promoting improved health and extending life expectancy. Boomers feel years younger than their chronological age and this typically is reflective of their active lifestyle, she said.
According to the most recent Del Webb Baby Boomer survey, 80 percent of Boomers indicated that they feel younger than their current age. More specifically, younger Boomers, age 50, said they feel 10 years younger, Boomers in their early 60s said they feel 13 years younger and Del Webb residents with a median age of 65 said they feel 15 years younger than their actual age.
“Baby Boomers enjoy ‘experiences,’ rather than just ‘activities.’ They are also known to go to great lengths to resist the realities of aging,” Julison said. “Our Del Webb residents are constantly seeking new, active and high-energy activities that can be incorporated into their everyday life, that also allow them to socialize and have fun. They are often motivated by a simple desire to try something new or to engage in an experience that challenges them physically and mentally.”
With 73 percent reporting they exercise regularly, Del Webb residents are embracing more health-oriented and fitness activities. This is also reflected in the residents’ requests for new group fitness classes, organized sporting events and increased attendance at the communities’ fitness centers.
Seeking more adventure activities is definitely in line with Jack Burch’s idea of retirement, as he regularly participates in motorcycle rides. Jack, 58, a Carolina Preserve by Del Webb resident, started riding a scooter when he was 10 because it was “easier than walking up the hill to fetch the cows.” From there he rode dirt bikes and street bikes. “I gave up riding while raising five children but my wife and I have returned to it now that they are grown.”
His wife Carol Burch, 55, also enjoys all kinds of rides in North Carolina and beyond – from three hour rides to trips that are 300 miles a day for a week.
“Riding on the back seat just wasn’t for me, so I took the class and got my own. Now when we go on trips whether they are three hours or 300 miles daily for a week, I am in control. I can smell those beautiful flowers on the side of the road and yes, also the cow dung,” Carol says. “I look forward to each and every ride exploring new areas and absolutely love the mountain twisties. This is something we can do into our 80s.”
Image Courtesy of StreetStrider International