Pauline Bradford

I retired early from my profession at the end of January 2020. I intended to take a few road trips to see family that year. But life was turned on its head and, with it, my plans, just like everyone else. I spent the next 15 months “sitting” usually reading or playing on a device. My body ached, and I knew I needed to do something to get myself mobile again.

In May 2021, I saw the Women’s Fitness Adventures 5kms for 5 days challenge on my social media feed. The irony is, I wouldn’t say I like walking, but I like the gym even less. I saw this challenge and figured I could do that; how hard can it be? Well, as it turned out, quite hard. I didn’t complete the challenge and found that even 5km was too far. I joke about the “Older I get, the better I was”, as I was quite active and fit in my younger days, but this was ridiculous.

As a result, I decided to join WFA and hoped this would be the motivation I needed to get moving.

In the first month of membership (June 2021), I struggled to see myself doing any of the adventures. I compared myself to the activities of other women who walked, swam, hiked, and completed challenges while I struggled to get out the door. I was ready to get my money back.

I attended a webinar with Yvonne and Jane feeling miserable, and I recall Yvonne saying, “if you can do 5km a day, you can hike the Great Ocean Way”. I knew it wouldn’t be that simple, but I had a light bulb moment and decided to make it happen. I booked the adventure and completing the Great Ocean Way in May 2022 has been my most significant achievement since joining Women’s Fitness Adventures.

The drive/motivation didn’t magically appear, but I started. My first Master Class was toileting; from that session onwards, I started squats every day. I was still a reluctant “trainee”, but I followed the training plan, attended and watched Master Classes and talked to the experts at Paddy Palin in Adelaide. I would hear Yvonne in my head so often, just “show up” or “when you think you can’t go another step, take one more”.

I trained because I didn’t want to hold everyone up on the hike; I wanted to ‘enjoy’ the experience and the people I was with. And wow, my arrival in Apollo Bay was the only time I kept them waiting.

I have participated in other events: Stadium Stomp (6000 steps), SAHMRI Bright Walk (23km around the city); City to Bay (12km), I know I would never have achieved any of these if I hadn’t started with WFA.

Before I joined Women’s Fitness Adventures, my natural state was sedentary. Unlike most of my fellow hikers who seem to be already active, I don’t want to ‘do’ anything. I was (and still am) very happy in my own company, reading, doing jigsaw puzzles, and playing scrabble or solitaire online. My favourite activity tells you everything about me really – doing a jigsaw puzzle while listening to a book. Sure, I meet friends and family for coffee or lunch, support my 90-year-old mother, and maintain a home, but mostly “I sit”.

There are occasions when my life is busy and very full, but now that I no longer work (other than selling ENJO as one way to create a sustainable planet), I have all the time in the world. I have discovered the truth in the saying: “If you want something done, give it to a busy person”, as the less I do, the less I want to do. This includes fitness for me. I need a reason. It is still a constant mindset struggle to get up and move. There are days I do less than 1000 steps.

My current motivation is to maintain the fitness I achieved in preparation for the hike. I lost 10kg and want to keep that off. I want to be mobile when I’m 90. One of the things I do now to help get me out to walk is listen to audiobooks or podcasts. I tell myself I’d only be at home reading, so now I’m out walking and reading.

When I returned from my adventure, I invited a group of friends for coffee in my home. I ran a slide show of the trip and discussed the preparation and the experience. Since then, one of my friends in her 70s has asked me to walk with her to help her maintain and build her fitness. We do that once a month and will build on the tracks we take.

If you are considering joining Women’s Fitness Adventures – Do it!

This is such a supportive group. They become your community (if you want that). The regular challenges help to motivate you in your wellness program.

All resources are at your fingertips.

Not just to prepare for a hike but to keep you informed about women’s well-being and safe exercise leading to mobility and flexibility.

I would recommend Women’s Fitness Adventures to anyone looking for a supportive group of women to help them achieve fitness goals. Women looking to participate in well-prepared, planned, and amazing adventures.

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Yvonne Shepherd, CEO of Women's Fitness Adventures

Yvonne Shepherd is the Founder & CEO of Women’s Fitness Adventures.

Established in 2014, Women’s Fitness Adventures encourages women to become stronger for life through fitness, adventure and social connection. We do this through our online fitness & hike training programs, thriving online community and our in person multi day adventures in Australia and around the world.

Women everywhere are enjoying the support, friendship and inspiration found inside the Women’s Fitness Adventures community as they connect in real time through our online active adventures that can be done in your location, regardless of where you live.  Your area is our area because we cover every corner of Australia and would love you to join us.

Whether you are ready to go on a hiking adventure right now or it is in the planning, our Hike Training Courses, Masterclasses, Adventure Ready resources and Hike Fitness Programs will equip you with the skills and knowledge to guarantee you success and have the best time ever.

Thanks,
Yvonne

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