Age is just a number

At the start of 2022, Treasure Trails commissioned a survey to try and determine whether growing old is optional, and our results confirmed our hopes! It seems that 60 may, in fact, be the new 40, as reported by the Daily Mail using data from our survey, and that old age doesn't even start until 76 these days, as picked up on by the Express.

Read on to see if you agree, take part in our poll, and see what others are saying.

You're never too old

According to our research, over a third of those surveyed say old age doesn't begin until you're over 80. What's more, even reaching this grand age hasn’t stopped some inspirational seniors from acing the ageing process and leaving world records in their wake.

Take Jack Reynolds from Derbyshire, who in 2016 was 104 when he became the oldest person ever to get their first tattoo. That was just the start of his record-smashing journey; he went on to be the oldest person to ride a non-inversion roller coaster in 2017, the oldest to ride a zip wire in 2018 and at 107 and became the oldest to perform as a supporting artist on a TV show when he appeared on "Hollyoaks"!

With such brilliant people to look up to, it’s hard to ignore the motivation to get out there and soak up everything life has to offer! Take a look below at just some of the many octogenarians who have proven it’s never too later to leave your mark.

Sprightly senior citizens

While cyclists like Alex Menarry - the oldest person to cycle from Lands Ends to John o'Groats aged 85 - may be leading the charge with their record-breaking achievements, they're certainly not the only senior cyclists out there. As a low-impact, heart-healthy activity, cycling is becoming increasingly popular amongst the over 60s, with 14% still enjoying the pastime. Charities like Bristol-based Life Cycle UK are dedicated to getting more people on their bikes and offer bike buddies and over-55s group cycling trips to encourage the move. Meanwhile, Cycling Without Age is determined to give all seniors the benefits of getting out on a bike ride, even if they're restricted by their mobility. 

Of course, cycling isn't the only active hobby open to modern-day pensioners - the sky is the limit, with over-60s still enjoying hikes, dance classes, football and even skydiving! Sat firmly in the 10% of seniors that are still active and play sport is 89-year-old Les Hill, a retired teacher from South Wales, who has been playing golf three times a week – weather depending – for the last 32 years.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting older,” Les comments. “It’s a strange thing to say, really. But retirement gave me the opportunity to do things I wanted to do and things I enjoyed doing.” His impending 90th birthday doesn’t quell his lust for life, as he reminisces on past experiences and looks forward to family gatherings and exploring some of his favourite places.

“I’ve got to say in many ways it’s been the best part of my life, and I hope I’ve still got a bit more to get out of it! Sometimes I feel 90; sometimes I feel 70. I can’t walk as much as I used to, but up there,” he says, pointing to his head and grinning, “I’m still young and active, and I want to do things.”

Keeping it professional

Even in their supposed retirement years, stars like Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Judi Dench still grace the stage and screen, as awe-inspiring now as they were when they set out on their careers. Meanwhile, Yasuko Tamaki of Japan broke a world record last year as the oldest office manager at 90 years old. She had been working at the same company since 1956!

Although most people will hope to retire in their 60s, it doesn’t stop modern-day pensioners from believing they can still make it in a profession. Our research shows that over a quarter of pensioners think that they could do the job of a private investigator, and 1 in 10 insist they have the skills to be a web designer. Even more strenuous professions like personal trainer or firefighter aren’t totally off the cards, with 3% of those surveyed saying they still have what it takes to do these.

But what about espionage? While older actors make it look easy in films like James Bond, Red and The Kingsman, real-life spycraft isn't quite the same as the silver screen! However, the profession is still considered achievable, as our survey shows that 1 in 8 pensioners think they have what it takes to be a spy, and a whopping 64% believe that 'solving puzzles helps keep my brain ‘young’' - perfect for cracking codes in the field.

Dr David Abrutat, Intelligence and Military Historian, says:

“Since spycraft began there has always been codes and ciphers to break, with data analysis that goes on behind the scenes. It’s so great to see that grandparents are still solving puzzles - perhaps the British intelligence services could see some new recruits coming through in their 70s!”

What do you think? Vote now!

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Double 0 Gran is on the rise!

Whatever the poll results say, here at Treasure Trails, we believe everyone can be a spy - whether you're 6 or 106 - but we can't deny that Double 0 Gran is on the rise, and so the battle of the ages has begun!

To truly see which generation has what it takes to be crowned spymaster, we've devised the Code Breaking 101 Spy Training Course for grown-up rookies - the fun way to put your espionage skills to the test. Will Double 0 Gran rise to the top, as our initial research suggests? Or will younger generations step up to the plate? We'll pass our findings on to GCHQ to let them know who to aim their next recruitment drive at!

Looking for something to do with (or without!) the kids and grandkids, or wanting to get some practice out in the field while waiting for your next Code Breaking 101 module? Treasure Trails has over 300 self-guided spy missions across the UK, alongside treasure hunt and detective mystery-themed Trails. Put your deciphering skills into action while hiding from enemy agents and saving the day!

Indendent survey conducted on behalf of Treasure Trails in February 2022 with 596 participants aged over 60, 49% male and 51% female.

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