The Rio Olympic games is starting in a couple of days. While you and I will probably watch the fireworks and the parade on TV, there are grandparents who will be representing their countries! Just like Mary Hanna who at over 61 years will be Australia’s oldest competitor ever. This is her 5th Olympics in the dressage event. Whether she wins gold or not, in my books she’s already a hero!
This post is not about competitive grandparenting (there’s plenty of that around, but not my bag) but on keeping active and engaged with our grandkids.
Why do we need to keep active?
We’re waiting longer to become grandparents. Our children are leaving it longer to become parents, in Australia, women having children in their 40s is not uncommon, and this is the same for other countries as well for example the USA, and parts of Europe. In the 1950s you’d expect to be a grandparent by age 53-56. In 2013, the average age of first time grandparents in Australia is 58-60, while it is younger in the US. Everyone I know who’s in this age bracket thinks about dementia.
Studies confirm that the lack of exercise is one of the 7 most significant risk factors for developing dementia. Surely that’s reason enough to keep moving!
What are some examples of grandparents being active?
Recently I had the privilege of holidaying in Bryce and Zion National Parks in Utah, USA with my sisters, both in their fifties and not yet grandmothers. Hiking was on the daily program! One of the hikes was up Angel’s Landing in Zion NP. A few people have fallen to their death from the last part of the climb, and I confess to chickening out after just a few metres on this stretch. However we met a pair of grandparents hiking up with their 14 year old grandchild, and quite a few grandmas holidaying in other parts of Zion NP with their grandkids. One, travelling with a 22 year old granddaughter, was a youthful, friendly, energetic lady in her 70s and I couldn’t quite believe she was grandma! Both were enjoying each other’s company and we don’t need anyone to tell us that families who enjoy holidays together will have wonderful memories and strong bonds.
Felix’s other set of grandparents are in their late sixties/seventies and they walk, ski and bicycle. I am nearly a decade younger but can’t keep up with them! We may not aspire to be Olympians, but even if we take our grandkids for a walk in the local park, we’re doing well.
Here’s my grandson Felix enjoying a walk. It’s winter here in Australia, but it was a fine day. Felix refused to nap, and kicked his fat legs contentedly throughout the walk.
Let’s take a hike now so that we delay going gaga for as long as possible.
Sweet dreams grandbaby!
P.S. I edited my sister’s image out of the featured photo to protect her privacy and vanity. Neither of us look good in our hiking gear, but that’s not the point.