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“Adrenaline junkie” is a lifestyle that doesn’t have to stop when you hit retirement. There are many ways to keep chasing the thrill even as we get older. It is an ageist myth that older adults are not fit and can’t handle the excitement and challenge of extreme sports. We’re going to look at some of the most popular extreme sports among America’s best generation.

1. Surfing

Surfing is often seen on TV as a sport for the young, but that too is another media myth. The reality is that surfing has been a staple of the West Coast lifestyle for over 60 years and has since spread across the globe. Plus, it’s never too late to start! Take the Catholic priest Christian Mondor. Having never surfed before, he bought a surfboard for his 70th birthday and spent the next 23 years hitting the waves and spreading his message about surfing’s many benefits.

Some people imagine 40 foot swells off of Hawaii when they hear the word surfing, but that is one particular way to indulge in this activity. Depending upon the season and location, you can plan for a mild or a rough experience.

Also, surfing is a great way to stay active and to feel connected to the earth. You can burn as much as 400 calories an hour and will work every muscle group when you hit the waves. Plus, many surfing schools offer lessons designed specifically for seniors.

2. Zip Lining

Have you ever wanted to glide over the canopy of a great forest? Ziplining allows you to unlock that inner flying squirrel and soar between the trees. Despite the height and the speeds, this activity is highly safe, as you are harnessed in. Essentially, all you need to worry about is having fun! 

Zip-lining gets you outdoors breathing fresh air and offers a safe and exhilarating thrill. Despite the thrilling nature of zip lining, this activity is surprisingly low impact, as the harness is very supportive of your back and acts as a chair. This activity is great to do with friends and can be quite a social activity. Plus, if you are the one to organize it, then you will be the talk of your senior independent living community. 

3. Zorbing

This one may be unfamiliar to you, but once you hear about it, you’ll start seeking out the nearest zorbing course. The idea sounds crazy — get strapped into a giant inflatable ball and roll down a mountainside. Yes, the art of zorbing awakens the inner 5-year-old inside all of us and forces us to ask the question, “What if we were the ball?”

There are two types of zorbing: wet zorbing and dry zorbing. The previous paragraph described dry zorbing, where you are strapped in. This means you will be going upside down a lot, so if you are prone to motion sickness, this might not be the option for you. However, wet zorbing doesn’t utilize a harness. Instead, you enter the ball along with some water. This essentially makes your journey down the hill a perpetually self-contained water slide.

4. Hang Gliding  

Hang gliding is a surprisingly safe and exhilarating way to experience flight. The best part is that you don’t actually have to be in control of the hang glider. There are hang gliders designed for two people: one who pilots the craft and the other who gets to sit back and enjoy the ride. This extreme sport is perfect for anyone who ever wanted to fly — which is probably all of us at some point. 

Having a professional pilot control the craft means you don’t need to worry about not being able to handle the glider. You essentially are the passenger in a two-person non-powered aircraft. Enjoy the view!

5. Indoor Skydiving

If you’ve ever wanted to go skydiving but couldn’t bring yourself to take the plunge, now you can float in free-fall in a vertical wind tunnel. Though these tunnels were initially developed for product testing and scientific research, over the past few decades, recreational wind tunnels have been popping up all over the country. These wind tunnels simulate free fall and allow patrons to fly!

The added benefit of not actually free-falling makes this activity extremely safe. This is another activity like zip-lining that is great in groups.

Don’t Stop Being Active!

If you have recently entered retirement, then now is the time to get more active, not less! You’ve earned your newfound free time, and you ought to make the most of it by picking up a new activity that gets you outdoors and brings a little thrill into your life!

About the Author

Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.

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