In my younger years, I loved playing sports, particularly competitive tennis which I played 3-4 times a week for many years. I was also busy raising my five sports-loving children and volunteering. So, I considered myself an active person.
In my fifties, I started full-time paid work: a sedentary office job. My tennis passion was reduced to playing one night a week; then, eventually, it ceased because it was “too hard” to settle in at home after work, only to head out again into a wintry Tasmanian night. After a few years, I realised I wasn’t participating in much physical activity.
Life went on, and “I didn’t have time” to do anything to look after myself. “I was too busy”.
Climbing a hill at an iconic scenic spot became a struggle, which was not only embarrassing but also a wake-up call that I was too young to miss out on life’s fun experiences. This realisation sparked a change.
Coincidentally, I came across an advertisement for Women’s Fitness Adventures on Facebook who were starting a challenge of walking 5 km for 5 days. Since walking was never a problem for me, I felt that the ad was directed towards me and joined the challenge.
The immediate support and friendliness of the ladies in the group were thrilling. There was no judgement, just helpfulness and positivity. I became a member of WFA to continue the new buzz I was receiving and to see where it would take me.
The online fitness classes, which can be undertaken at times that suit me, as often or as infrequently as I want, the virtual walks and great conversations conducted via zoom, and the masterclasses and information sessions have been invaluable. I appreciate that I don’t have to schedule lessons at the gym, worry about what to wear or keep up with others. These have been definite positives. An awareness of the importance of good balance as I age has also been beneficial information.
Messages frequently conveyed to us in the forums are that we are important, we owe it to ourselves to look after our health, and we are worth it. This is wise advice, as generally, women will go over and above to do things for others, often to the detriment of their own well-being. They are a constant reminder to take care of ourselves, ensuring that we are healthy and happy enough to be there for others. They remind us that it is easy to find the time to look after ourselves if we prioritise ourselves.
As a member of the Women’s Fitness Adventures online community, I am constantly encouraged to stay active. Every member’s personal goals and achievements are celebrated, regardless of their level, as they are special to each individual. The community fosters virtual friendships and opportunities to meet in person.
Along with the increased exercise, I changed my dietary intake from a reasonably healthy one to a very healthy one. With consideration of both lifestyle changes, I have lost a considerable amount of weight which had been a serious issue for many years. When walking, I recall the advice given in the fitness sessions to walk tall and remember to smile. This, of course, helps to maintain a good posture and a positive attitude.
Now in my mid-60s, I can now face and conquer multiple sets of steps and hills, negotiate rocky paths and uneven steps without dread, and therefore access some amazing scenery. My overall stamina and attitude to life have improved. One of my excuses for not walking in my area had been that it was too hilly, and I didn’t want to drive to a starting point. Now I can walk out my front door, happily walk in any direction and enjoy it.
If Brod’s story has inspired you to take action, what are you waiting for? The next 5 km for 5 days challenge is starting soon and is open to all. Register now to be a part of it!