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Pipe and slippers retirement? More like Zumba and hiking say retirees

28th March 2013 Print

The average retiree enjoys three holidays a year - and is fitter than they were while they were working, research by Skipton Building Society.

Experts who carried out a detailed study found far from adopting a 'One Foot in the Grave' attitude, a large percentage of pensioners are ignoring traditional retirement expectations and are rediscovering their youth instead.
The stats revealed more than half of those who were polled are now exercising more than they ever did in their twenties - regularly hiking, swimming and cycling. One in ten have opted to go back to school in a bid to keep their minds active via language lessons, evening classes and even higher education.
Stacey Stothard from Skipton Building Society, which conducted the study among 623 older adults, said: "Years ago the general perception was that once you had given up work and entered retirement, you'd pretty much had it.  You were on the journey to your grave. But these days people have a much brighter attitude to retirement, acknowledging the fact that actually, there's a good third of your life left to enjoy.
"As such people are embarking on activities which would once have seemed risky for a pensioner to try - such as Zumba, dance classes and aerobics."
The study finds eight in 10 people are treating their retirement as the beginning rather than the end.
Research shows rather than relaxing into a gentle retirement, 76 per cent of pensioners are choosing to remain as busy and active as possible. Indeed, four in 10 senior citizens are choosing to use their later years to 're-live their youth' by taking up hobbies and interests they previously enjoyed before taking on family and work commitments.
A quarter of elderly people volunteer or do charity work on a regular basis, while others embark on interests such as shopping, cooking, photography, gardening and reading.
Many people of retirement age also have active social lives - with many seeing close family members and grandchildren at least twice a week. The average person has four very close friends, and spends at least two days and one evening a week socialising over dinner, at the pub or having coffee mornings.
The study indicates 76 per cent of older people try their best to remain active and busy so that they are healthy for as long as possible, 15 per cent want to set a good example to the grandchildren and 23 per cent like the idea of continuing to contribute something to society.
A third of those polled feel lucky that they have shared interests with their partner, and 37 per cent are proud of their bustling social life. And just under half of the pensioners polled say they are now doing things they simply didn't have time to do as a youngster.
Looking to the future, 29 per cent of Brits have great aspirations to travel the world, 11 per cent dream of learning a language and one in 10 want to get a dog. Writing a book, getting back out on the dating scene, decorating the home and garden and taking up a new exercise are amongst other ambitions commonly shared by older people.
Stacey Stothard continues: "People retire from work, not life.
"And more and more retired people are becoming more active and-out-and about than they ever were. We're seeing a generation of pensioners who are every bit young at heart - and quite possibly more on the go than people half their age.
"It's important to remember that when you finish work, your retirement really is what you make of it. Our research shows that keeping busy, socialising and achieving new feats is the new staying in and growing old together!"