My passion for the outdoors brings a smile to my face and allows me to keep fit and healthy. I get to explore all sorts of terrain including Scottish Islands, woodland hideaways and beautiful coastal routes. Health adventures can take all sorts of shapes and forms.
I’ve eaten fresh fish on white sandy beaches and woke to the sound of the sea, or a nearby stream. I love indulging in the planning of a new adventure, and a trip to a new place.
I haven’t always enjoyed getting outdoors and participating in activities that help me feel healthy and well. I grew up in a city and in my teens I had no such interest in anything remotely healthy. It wasn’t till my late teens that I discovered exercise and sprint distance triathlons in my 20’s. Two decades later, I still compete. I enjoy that there are three disciplines which all require being in the outdoors (swim, cycling and running). I love being in the company of inspiring people who are all championing each other regardless of ability and age.
Some take these events very seriously, with the top of the range kit and the hard core training plans. Others like me just rock up (often after a night of copious wine and dancing) and just enjoy the fresh air, the sunshine and the ‘I can’ feeling that is generated knowing that, regardless of your speed or position, you have lapped those people sitting on the couch watching television.
I have always loved running. In particular running in the woods in all sorts of weather, the more dramatic the weather, the better. One of the simple pleasures of this is smelling the seasons change and spotting wildlife in the form of deer, woodpeckers, cattle and the occasional red squirrel.
Unfortunately a year ago I was diagnosed with arthritis of my knees. This also coincided with two other injuries (a shoulder impingement and tennis elbow). Combined together, I struggled to find a fitness activity that I could enjoy. My training and my love of outdoor fitness became compromised for a while with the realisation that it was time to hang up the running shoes.
After the initial devastation, and the challenge of finding a fitness activity that I could still enjoy (whilst avoiding impact on my knees) I had physiotherapy for my shoulder and elbow. I reminded myself of my belief that in theory, every situation you face provides you with an opportunity.
After a short period of feeling sorry for myself, I discovered that the opportunity facing me was the chance to review my overall health needs. This forced me to discover the health maintenance activities that I have been neglecting all these years because they were less satisfying or fun, that will ironically let me keep active into my wise old years.
I’ve discovered that there are many ways to keep fit and there are certain activities that I need to do regularly to keep my body healthy, strong and flexible. There are also pursuits that I need to avoid at all costs if I want to stay mobile, and pain free. I am learning to adapt my wellness activities in the face of a health challenge to allow myself to be as fit, active and adventurous as is possible for me. They say that there is always a lesson to be learned!
To this day continue to enjoy bike adventures and I have discovered some new routes to challenge me. I still love to visit and explore new places on my bike or on foot and I love a spot of wild camping.
This year I challenged myself to become more comfortable with wild swimming. I also decided to continue to enter triathlons except I have had to adapt my expectations and enter as a relay team. This allows me to enjoy the competitive element of triathlons without breaking myself. To a certain extent, I also get a boost from going to the gym or getting in the pool and enjoying the feeling of making my body feel stronger, but I see this as a less satisfying way to keep healthy.
So enough about me! How satisfied are you with your level of health and well-being Perhaps you always wanted to be fitter and healthier but never knew how to make that happen. Alternatively maybe you have learned how to influence your wellness whilst doing things that you enjoy.
It is important that, even if you do not know how to make this happen yet, you believe in your potential for health and wellbeing. Even in the face of a health challenge!
Here are my top tips for a wellness adventure
1. If you need clarity on methods of improving your health, commit to ‘tasters’. Try a range of things to discover at least one form of exercise that ‘floats your boat’.
2. Get clear on whether you want to share a fitness pursuits with others, or whether solitude helps you to top yourself up. (Workout partners can be a great motivational boost)
3. Promise yourself to spend at least 20 minutes every day doing something that is good for your body. (It is easier to maintain a habit if you do it every day). This will leave you feeling great about yourself.
4. Connect up with other people who enjoy getting active. Spending time with people who share your desire will inspire and encourage you. This can be contagious.
5. Get an activity tracker and challenge a friend to beat your fitness goal over this month.
6. Recognise the fun activities that make you come alive and contribute to your health…….AND DO MORE.
7. Build a support team to inspire your wellness adventures. This could mean inviting someone to be a health buddy and setting challenges together or having positive people around you to champion you and hold you accountable.
Living a healthy and adventurous life means something different to each of us. What does it mean to you? Your challenge, should you choose to accept it is to get busy recognising the fun activities that contribute to your health and help you to feel energised. Create new sustainable habits and build your support team to inspire your wellness adventure. Are you in?
#100% Pure Polly – Living Life’s Adventure…
I plan to dedicate my next blog to the power of gifts and the potential to keep on giving.
In the meantime I wish you all a happy and energetic week. Want to know more about how to live your life’s adventure?
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