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