THE ARTICLE, “WHAT FEMALE ATHLETES NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MENOPAUSE” from The Washington Post Health blog, with the story by Bonnie Berkowitz and graphic by Aaron Steckelberg has the promise of being a major downer. It’s a difficult decision to post it because I think women will avoid reading it, dreading what might be revealed. However, better to face the beast armed with facts than fears. And then learn of the advantages of the new life phase.
The piece starts, “Hey active women of a certain age: The good news is that you are probably going to weather menopause better than your sofa-bound sisters”.
It then launches into a listing of what happens to various body parts and systems as a result of falling estrogen levels. Two very important points are made:
Areas that are affected by menopause include sleep, metabolism, body heat regulation, muscle and fat mass, bone strength, and mental attitude. The article identifies changes that may occur and how running can be of benefit in managing them.
Although I am NOT AN EXPERT in the area, I am an expert of “me”. I can speak to the strengths that I think women (and possibly men) possess which will enable them to meet this challenge of physical change, based on my own experience, and thrive as runners
Attitude: by this time in life it’s likely that we KNOW ourselves; we realize we have the capability to work hard on faith, then judge whether the outcome is worth future effort. Families have been made and raised, careers developed, and failures have been survived. More so than the younger set, we are equipped mentally to push beyond discouraging physical transformation in order to reach the life goals we have envisioned for ourselves. Not going to let hot flashes keep us off the roads!
Outlook: the multiple divergent life paths on which we set out a few decades earlier have converged, and we are not as pulled in opposite directions by conflicting goals at this age. We start to see that in order to make our way forward toward enjoyment of travel, grandchildren, charity work, and other of life’s rewards we must follow the path of HEALTH. We understand the importance of increasing our daily activity and taking precautions to prevent injury to improving health.
Drive: for years we have been adrift on a sea of monthly rising and falling hormones. The new lower, ultimately steady hormone environment may uncover a strong competitive streak and allow greater focus and purpose in the drive toward running success.
Speaking personally, these years have been the best ever for my running life.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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