“The first step is to stop ask­ing your­self ‘What if I can’t do it?’ and start ask­ing ‘What if I can?’”

Prevention (Australia) - - Inspiring Women -

When was the last time you engaged in an ac­tiv­ity that maxed your fit­ness lev­els, lifted your spir­its, tested your skills and pushed you out of your com­fort zone? Can’t re­mem­ber?

Not sure you would even be up for it? Why not change tack, and your think­ing, be­cause that’s what a grow­ing num­ber of women are do­ing − like the three women fea­tured here, they are seek­ing out ad­ven­tures and find­ing ful­fill­ment through phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties that leave them feel­ing more vi­tal, in­vig­o­rated and re­silient.

DIS­COV­ER­ING NEW STRENGTHS

En­gag­ing in phys­i­cal feats and ad­ven­tures can help you dis­cover new abil­i­ties within your­self that you’d never re­alised you had, as well as pas­sions that fuel a re­newed sense of pur­pose in life.

There’s a def­i­nite pay­off for your mind as well as your body, with a grow­ing body of re­search show­ing peo­ple who em­bark on phys­i­cal ad­ven­tures en­joy a bet­ter qual­ity of life, feel­ings of joy and lib­er­a­tion and more pos­i­tive life ex­pe­ri­ences. Par­tic­i­pants may also feel emo­tion­ally stronger due to over­com­ing their fears and push­ing their lim­its. The whole ex­pe­ri­ence can lead to a trans­for­ma­tion in both phys­i­cal and men­tal as­pects of your life.

But you don’t have to be a hard­core ad­ven­turer, who lives off the adren­a­line of each achieve­ment – there’s a groundswell of women dis­cov­er­ing ac­tive pur­suits in their 40s, 50s and beyond, who have con­quered many a moun­tain and changed their lives.

“At midlife lots of women have ticked off many of their life goals, such as hav­ing a fam­ily and suc­ceed­ing in their ca­reer. Also, they have of­ten spent years putting their own well­be­ing and needs on the back­burner,” says psy­chol­o­gist Pro­fes­sor An­thony Grant, from the Fac­ulty of Sci­ence at the Univer­sity of Syd­ney. “So women may then start to crave new in­vig­o­rat­ing and life-af­firm­ing ex­pe­ri­ences that break the rou­tine, of­fer chal­lenges and in­crease their feel­ings of self worth, au­ton­omy and com­pe­tence.”

FITTER THAN EVER BE­FORE

“I am see­ing a grow­ing num­ber of women who are fitter in their midlife than ever and have bet­ter flex­i­bil­ity, stamina, speed and mus­cle strength than they did in their 20s,” says ex­er­cise sci­en­tist, Martha Lourey-Bird. When we are younger we take our fit­ness for granted, but many of us dis­cover that fit­ness is an as­set with perks far beyond a slim sil­hou­ette.

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