When I need inspiration, I browse through our Chi Blog. I have read many of the athletes’ bios several times. Just read about Judy, the 74 year old SUP Ambassador. WOW! It got me wondering about the demographics of our Athleta family. Certainly, most of our featured Athletes are probably ages 25-40, I am guessing. I am not. I am 57. But, I bet you will find women of all ages sporting the Athleta gear and reading the Chi Blog. So, a long intro, but this is about menopause. (Gasp! Don’t even think about it…right?)
I started having the peri-menopausal symptoms at about age 50. Rather than spending hours at the computer researching it or in the doctor’s office medicating it, I kept on training as hard as I ever had. In fact, that year I qualified for Long Course National Triathlon Championship. The next year I won that race and was also chosen for Team USA and raced the World Championship in Sweden!
When asked if I had hot flashes, my usual response was “I am not really sure, as I spend much of my time hot and sweaty, anyway.” Exercise was my way of working through the ‘Pause. Did I skate through with no symptoms? Of course not, but I really believe they were minimal because of exercise. It kept me from the dreaded weight gain, depression and insomnia. Any time I started to feel a bit down, time to go for a bike ride or a run! Women often report mental fogginess and forgetfulness. My thought is that when you are working out, you have increased cardiac output and much of that blood, carrying oxygen, goes to your brain. That can’t hurt!
Now without a doubt, there are women who have severe symptoms and require medical intervention. Women who have had “surgical menopause” may also have other needs, but remember that menopause is not a disease or a disorder. It is a phase in your life. It is a time when you can decide to sit in the corner and lament your age and stage OR you can attack it.
It is a great time to try some new activities. Just check out the Athleta women and their interests to get some ideas! Kettlebells, stand-up paddling, climbing, Pilates, yoga, cycling, active travel, kayaking… The list is limited only by your imagination. Most importantly, you need to stay physically and mentally active.
So, I like to think of this time in a woman’s life as simply a ‘Pause; an opportunity to refresh yourself and your life. A time to discover more about yourself and to challenge yourself to do more than you ever thought possible!