Last week, I was at BBC Radio London for an interview with the very bubbly presenter, Jo Good. We had a lovely chat about energy and how important it is to try and keep active, physically and mentally. She is a staunch believer in staying youthful, seizing opportunities and like many of us over 50s, believes that we are a generation who has energy, gusto and gumption. We are not afraid to take on new challenges even now.
I, too, believe we are emerging as a generation that is keen to enjoy every possible challenge. This theory deserved further research.
Returning home, I discovered that well-known 50-something TV presenter Carol Vordemann intends to fly around the world solo, having just gotten her pilot's license. Now, I like to think I have had a go at some challenges in my life. I have gone quad biking in the highest peaks of the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa, dived deep wrecks in Barbados and flown helicopters around Tellytubbieland. But it seems that people of our generation are becoming even more adventurous than that.
There is definitely a correlation between activities and holding back the years. However, it helps if you think 'outside the box.' With that in mind, I would like to offer up some suggestions if you too feel in need of a proper challenge. So, here is my list of Five Fun Ways to Fend off Aging:
Drive the Monaco Grand Prix circuit. Yes, mere mortals are allowed to drive it because Monaco is the only proper road circuit in Grand Prix racing. The race runs through the Principality of Monaco and roads are shut to normal traffic during the event. Imagine manoeuvring your trusty Peugeot 206 or Citroen C1 (it is France, after all) through tunnels, listening to the throaty burble of your exhaust pipe, as you press the throttle excitedly, pretending you are Michael Schumacher.
To be honest, there will be areas that you won't be able to speed around like F1 cars do, such as Casino Square, but it is worth following the rest of the circuit, taking in the boats and the jet-set lifestyle. Don't forget to stop off at the Casino for a quick flutter in the hope you might win enough for a Ferrari.
Be mindful that you won't be able to drive at 160mph, not unless you want a speeding ticket. Finally, this suggestion is best not attempted during the summer months when it is very busy. In fact, you might be better walking the circuit, stopping at the Hotel de Paris and enjoying watching the fabulous display of cars stuck in traffic jams.
If you really fancy some speed, take on the infamous Nürburgring track in Germany. Situated 70 kilometres south of Cologne and 120 kilometres north-west of Frankfurt, anyone with a clean driving licence can purchase a ticket and drive this exhilarating racing circuit.
There is no general speed limit, although speed limits exist in certain areas in order to reduce noise and risks. Just be polite, don't overtake on the right, and watch out for me and my husband. We shall be bearing down on you, squealing at the thrill of it.
Should you prefer speed without the protection of an automobile, and an adrenaline challenge that is extremely physical, then have a go at skiing the Hahnenkamm downhill course at Kitzbühel,, Austria. Winter skiing will pale into insignificance if you succeed in completing this course without any injury. The ski run opens to the public the day after World Cup competitions, and I understand that there are always lots of busy ambulances at the bottom of the course.
What about a really wild challenge? Charge off to Switzerland and hurtle head first down the Cresta Run in St Moritz on a luge at about 88 mph. The Cresta Run normally opens two or three days before Christmas and continues until the end of February. It is a private club and unfortunately only male non- members are welcome. You will have to apply for temporary membership to ride in the early mornings on certain days, and this will last until the end of the season, entitling you to up to five rides on the run. Ladies, just ensure your man is well insured and relax at Da Vittorio with a glass of champagne and wait for him to come back, or not!
It's that time of year again, when French streets are filled with cheering supporters waving tricolour flags as the Tour de France teams thunder through their towns and villages. You too could ride a stage of the Tour de France!
Take on L'Ëtape du Tour. It's the one stage of the tour that is open to amateur riders every year (the real tour covers it a week later). Roads are closed, as they are for the rest of the tour, and riders have a police escort. A friend of mine rode it on a couple of years ago, just after his fiftieth birthday, and loved every moment although his legs felt like lead for days afterwards.
And, if none of the above appeals to you, then try playing a game of elephant polo in Thailand. First played by Mogul Indian kings, the concept for this sport was reinvented in 1982 by two passionate polo players, Jim Edwards (an Englishman) and James Mann-Clark (a Scotsman) in a bar in Switzerland when both wanted to try out a more interesting and adventurous form of their sport.
It's unlikely that you will be allowed to take part in an actual match, (although auctions have been held for you to win a place in the past) but you will certainly be able to watch one.
So, throw away the remote control and stop spending your Saturdays watching sport on television. Get involved in something new. Should you wish to spend your children's inheritance and take on any of the above challenges, make sure you have a good life insurance policy and good luck!