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Why You Should Sign Up for an Athletic Event in the New Year

community mental health mindset Nov 28, 2023

Putting something on the calendar now can benefit you for years to come as a menopausal woman.

 

By Selene Yeager

 

I’ve seen a lot of transformations the past few weeks. The first was at a Spartan Stadion event in Fenway Park in Boston, which was a 5K through the stadium (so a billion stairs) that included 20 obstacles, including spear throws, wall climbs, weighted bear crawls, and all sorts of antics. It was super fun and honestly, transformational for a lot of women who were taking on something like this for the first time.

 

We also had our second Feisty Menopause Performance Retreat in Lake Nona with Dr. Vonda Wright a couple of weeks ago, which was super fun and, again, transformational. Though many of us are active and athletic, we may not have ever learned how to lift heavy, do box jumps, climb walls, push sleds, or do any number of activities that can look intimidating and make us think, “Oh, that’s not for me.”

 

But when someone literally shows you the ropes (and I mean literally, having just watched a 50-something-year-old woman learn to rope climb for the first time), you see that you can, and a whole world opens up you didn’t even know existed. Beyond being gratifying and exciting, signing up for something that challenges you benefits you in myriad ways including:

 

 

 

Providing community.

 

We’ve talked about it before, and it’s true. Community is powerful medicine for mental and physical health. Many events, like big runs, rides, triathlons, swims, or obstacle course races, have affiliated online groups where you can plug into a community of like-minded people and learn, grow, and have fun together.

 

Boosting motivation.

 

It’s well documented that motivation and mojo can go MIA during menopause, as hormones fluctuate and your general well-being can feel like not-so-well-being. Nothing helps get you up and out the door like having something that scares you a little bit on the calendar.

 

Increasing confidence.

 

I wish I had a collection of before and after photos of competitors’ expressions (including my own!) before and after events. Before, you see a lot of anxious, even miserable expressions. You often hear a lot of negative talk: I’m not sure I can do this. I shouldn’t be here. I'm an outlier. I feel like an imposter. I’ve heard all those statements (and then some!) on the starting lines for various events. Hell, I’ve said a few of them myself! And afterward? Women are glowing. The confidence gained from lining up and completing something that scared you extends far beyond the finish line of any given event and into your life at large.

 

Improving health.

 

Participating in regular physical activity, enjoying social engagement, overcoming adversity, building mental fortitude—all the things involved in getting ready for and participating in recreationally competitive sporting events is really good for your health.

 

Delivering positivity and hope.

 

There’s a lot of negative messaging in the menopause and midlife space. It’s easy to get swept up in it and feel that your best years are in the rearview mirror and the road ahead holds less fun. Being surrounded by strong, happy women of all ages pushing themselves and looking forward to future events turns that narrative on its head in a hurry.

 

Don’t wait for January. Resolve to sign up for an event right now. Not sure where to look? It’s as easy as Googling (fill in your activity of choice) near me. You’ll be surprised how many events pop up. See you on some start lines in 2024.

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