A few years ago I celebrated my birthday by joining a guided kayak tour of Isla Espiritu Santo in Baja California.
The first night was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
We were camping on a beach and I just couldn’t get comfortable, my pillow wasn’t the right size, the ground wasn’t flat enough, and my thoughts were very negative. These thoughts kept popping into my mind:
“why the hell do I book myself into these adventures to have a good time and end up in discomfort”
“I’m too old for adventure vacations. I should know better and avoid the hassle”.
“I shouldn’t have booked a kayak trip to Greenland next summer if I can’t even enjoy camping in a nice warm beach”.
The first morning was also memorable but for a very good reason.
The first travel companion I met when I groggily and grumpily got out of my tent was Warwick, a 70-something year-old Australian man travelling alone and recovering from cancer. He greeted me bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with a happy “morning mate”. I grumbled some greeting back and he asked what was wrong (what could possibly be wrong on a sunny, picture-perfect, white sandy beach, right?). I explained I hadn’t had a good night. To which he replied:
“The older we get the harder it is to be comfortable.”
“Don’t let that prevent you from enjoying yourself. JUST GET OUT THERE!”
Warwick’s words changed my outlook on life F.O.R.E.V.E.R.
Since then, whenever I feel physically uncomfortable, I think of Warwick’s advice and it helps me to see the situation in a new perspective and with more positive mindset. That helps me to keep trying things that get me out of my comfort zone; and those things help me feel alive, youthful, and vibrant.
This week, with Warwick’s words in mind, I pushed myself to go cross-country skiing in the park after the first snowfall of the season; even though I felt more like staying home and not risking an injury. Of course, one hour later with rosy cheeks and a dripping nose, I was very glad I was OUT THERE.
Winter weather, for me and probably you, is here. Cold and snow are probably going to be around for a while.
Don’t let that keep you from going outdoors. The benefits for your menopause transition and overall health are immense.
- There’s no cold, just improper outwear. Make sure you have boots or shoes that fit well and have a good grip. Ice cleats can give you extra traction when you’re walking on snowy or icy surfaces. You can buy these at department or sporting goods stores.
- Walking on natural uneven terrain is better for your body, joints, bones, and muscles than on flat indoor surfaces and treadmills.
- Natural light, early in the day, helps regulate your melatonin levels and improve your circadian rhythm. Combine that with avoidance of screens two hours before bed and your sleep might improve. What do you do instead of watching TV or being at the computer in the evening? Read a book, take a bath or shower, talk with a friend or partner, play a game, stretch, meditate, do breathing exercises, and go to bed early; the earlier sleep is the most restorative.
- Movement burns calories and helps you maintain or lose weight, which tends to creep up in perimenopause.
- Exercise releases endorphins, happy hormones, that make you feel happier and less moody and blue.
- Walking fast is a form of cardio-exercise which is good for your heart
- Walking is also good for your brain. Together with enough water intake (2 litres a day, before 7 PM) it improves cognition and decreases the brain fog that’s commonly reported during the menopause transition.
- Walking and other weight-bearing exercises, along with optimal ingestion of calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium, is good for your bones. It helps decrease the risk of osteoporosis which otherwise rises greatly in the years following your last menstrual period.
If you haven’t built the habit of walking, I strongly encourage you do so.
Start small and safe. In time speed it up and increase the distance to 10,000 steps which research from the Universities of Australia and Denmark show is the ‘sweet spot’ for lowered risk of disease and death.
Whatever way you walk, some is better than none. Sitting is the new smoking.
Would you like to improve your menopause journey, feel like yourself again, and have a vibrant and productive life? Give me a call.