I Was Saved By The Wild…
By Di Westaway
I first went wild 15 years ago, as a 40-year-old mum who desperately needed to get out of the house. I had been miserable and grumpy. With three little kids, there was no time for me. It was a roller coaster of emotions: the highest of the high to the lowest of the low; and definitely no time to exercise.
But I was saved by the wild when an acquaintance, who was a personal trainer, invited me to climb Mt Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the southern hemisphere. My often absent husband reluctantly agreed to let me go. My friends thought I might die. But I went.
I was a complete novice, putting crampons on for the first time ever when we saw snow. I suffered from altitude sickness and failed to summit, and it wasn’t fun in the slightest.
But it was exhilarating. I felt truly alive. I went WAY out of my comfort zone and was hooked on the feeling. And it motivated me to get really fit and healthy.
This adventure transformed my life completely. I came home happy, excited and refreshed, ready to tackle motherhood and find a new challenge to keep me healthy and motivated.
I learned that by having a big hairy audacious goal to train for, I was in fact putting my own oxygen mask on first. And that made me a better mum, a better wife and a better nurturer.
But what I didn’t understand at the time was why this experience made me so happy. And now I know.
Trekking, hiking, walking in nature have been shown to have incredible health benefits, both physical, mental and emotional. And there is a mounting body of research to prove it. Trekking is trending fast.
In the last 10 years, participation in walking has increased by 44 per cent and bushwalking by 6 per cent. Extreme and adventure sports are on the rise, as is active travel. And there’s good reason for it. It makes us happier, healthier and more fun.
Australians are turning away from traditional sports and using technology, like Fitbits and phone apps to keep themselves in shape. And they’re getting outdoors for good reason.
Going wild is really good for us – for our mental health, physical health, emotional health and longevity. So, by complimenting your gym sessions with workouts in nature you can add a whole other dimension to your health and fitness. And its fun!
I first experienced the health benefits of trekking 15 years ago. Since then, I’ve seen thousands of women experience these benefits. The Wild Women On Top Coastrek events have helped nearly 15,000 people get fit trekking with friends in the past six years.
And adventure travel companies like World Expeditions offer great wild adventures around Australia and the world to keep us fit and motivated. By choosing a challenging adventure in nature, you’re really going to up the endorphins and happy hormones.
You’ll meet young groovy Y generation women like Magdelena Rose, Caroline Pemberton and Libby Trickett have all embraced outdoor challenges to keep them fit in nature. Or inspiring women like 76-year-old Margaret Sheridan, who took up adventures in her 40s when her son took her rafting the Franklin. Since then she’s trekked the high passes of Bhutan, she walked across the UK last month and next month she’ll be climbing Mt Fuji with us, as well as having done Sydney Coastrek several times.
Broadcaster and journalist, Julie McCrossin, credits walking with women in nature for getting her through a life threatening illness. Not only did she survive the trauma of aggressive throat cancer, but she’s now thriving as the Patron of Sydney Coastrek, Team Trekking challenge. She’s walked 50km along the Sydney Coast and has transformed her life.
And health celebrities like Lorna Jane, Sarah Wilson, Lola Berry, Reece Witherspoon and Orlando Bloom all love a hike in the woods.
The fitness industry builds communities which value health, fitness, nutritious food, friends, meditation and relaxation. And your personal trainer can help prepare you for adventure challenges in nature and provide training for life’s adventures.
By committing to the gym, you’ve connected with a health tribe, which is also a great way to increase your longevity. You’re all part of a community that will live longer, healthier, happier lives, just like a Blue Zone. where ten times more people live to over 100 years old. How great will it be to live long enough to meet your great grand kids!
Research proves that being active in nature can have the following health benefits:
- reduces negative thoughts
- reduces anxiety
- reduces depression
- improves memory
- reduces cardiovascular disease
- helps prevent and control diabetes
- increases energy levels
- reduces blood pressur
- burns calories
- increases bone density
- lowers cancer risk
- elevates your mood
- alleviates insomnia
- gives you a daily dose of vitamin D
- reduces bad cholesterol
- gets your creative juices flowing
- is inexpensive
- improves immunity
- promotes healing
- promotes longevity
- improves concentration
- reduces sick leave
- helps us manage stressful life events
- improves strength, balance, coordination
- rejuvenates and revitalises
- decreases tension
- makes you feel HAPPY!
So let’s jump into nature with our training and share these wonderful benefits with the world.
Di Westaway is the Founder and CEO of Wild Women On Top and Coastrek