Find out how Alan, 69, has reached new heights in retirement thanks to his love of climbing. And he doesn't intend to stop any time soon!
To see Alan scale the walls at his local climbing centre, it's hard to believe he's 69 – he has the energy of someone half his age! He's a familiar face at the centre and knows just about everyone who comes through the door. But perhaps that's not surprising, as he's been climbing here for over 25 years.
When Alan retired at 51, it meant he had a lot more free time on his hands to commit to doing what he loves, and he really can't get enough of it. He said: "When you do that first climb of the day, you can feel your limbs and joints start to loosen up a bit, it's a whole body workout. You achieve something that you thought was going to be impossible. It's a good feeling".
Alan's passion for climbing has taken him to France, Spain and Scotland but he's just as happy indoors. People ask him if it's a dangerous pastime but he says it's isn't really, "perhaps outdoors you can hurt yourself, but indoors it's fine". And as he says with a little laugh, at least at the climbing centre when he's had enough, he can have a cup of tea!
The benefits of climbing are not just physical for Alan, they’re mental too. He explains: "There are life lessons to be learnt here and the best one is that you've got to trust people. But that's the secret to having a long relationship with another person too".
Alan's always keen to tell youngsters he meets, that getting old is nothing to be frightened of, saying: "OK, I'm not a spring chicken any more, but I can still do what I want to do". He's a firm believer that you're never too old to start doing something new, and he'd recommend having a go at climbing to anyone. And, as an added bonus, he says when you've been climbing you always sleep well.
With such a positive outlook on life, Alan's ready for whatever the future holds and has already discussed funeral plans with his wife, as well as sorting out their Will. When asked about his optimistic approach to getting older he replied: "It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you do it as best you can. That's what I intend to do – and I don't intend to stop any time soon".
Many thanks to Undercover Rock climbing center for letting us film Alan in action.
SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, life insurance, equity release, pet insurance, home insurance, car insurance, ISAs and Will writing services.