Vacation Fitness Fear: Will My Menopausal Muscles Melt Away into Margarita Mix?May 30, 2023
Ah, vacation–the glorious time when we say adios to work stress, pack our bags, and set off for some much-needed relaxation. Or so it should be, but if you’re anything like me, the excitement gets overshadowed by sheer panic— that taking a break from my regular exercise routine will turn my hard-earned muscles into margarita mix!
This anxiety has been with me for as long as I can remember, although it used to be much, much worse. Five years ago, the fear of my body “falling apart” had the power to make my vacations far more stressful than no vacation at all.
For years, I felt like a failure for not being dedicated enough to exercise during vacation. , Finally, I decided to figure out why I couldn’t just let it be, and here’s what I found.
Decades of constant marketing and messaging have polluted my mind. Does this sound familiar? It’s so EASY to exercise! You can work out anywhere–even a closet! Do squats on the beach, lunges on the boardwalk, push-ups against a tree! Never stop moving! Go, go, go! Don’t get me wrong–I love getting creative with my workouts, and I’m on a mission to help women find inspirational ways and means to move their bodies. If that means lunging across a beach, great. The problem starts when exercise becomes an obsession, even a moral obligation. When we start listening to the not-very-subtle messages behind the messages–good people, healthy people, make fitness a big priority. You really need to catch up to those people BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.
For me, these voices came in loud and clear. In preparation for vacations, I’d work out harder in an attempt to make up for the workouts I’d miss. Wow–as I type this, the thought of this old me gives me chills, and not pleasant ones. Giving in to this obsession added so much stress to my life! I finally started to question my rigid views when I began creating self-exploration worksheets for the Fitness in Menopause Masterclass. No goal was more important to me than helping women control the narrative around exercise. To successfully (and joyfully) find a way to include movement long-term, you must come up with your own definitions and be willing to keep reinventing those definitions. How we think and feel about exercise, it turns out, is every bit as important as how our bodies perform it.
Vacations should give us a break from day-to-day life, right? They’re a chance to try something fresh, right? Why do we insist on thinking that our bodies can only benefit from the same-old, same-old? Besides, whether it’s swimming in crystal-clear oceans, hiking scenic trails, or dancing the night away at a local restaurant, we’re still moving, engaging our muscles and bodies, and, most importantly, having a blast! Why worry about those missed bench-press sets when you can learn some new dance moves with a beautiful beach as a background?
So, as I pack for my summer vacation, I’m throwing in my resistance bands and TRX– not for use in a rigid routine, but just in case. Here’s the biggest realization for me: it’s not that I can’t exercise; it’s that I may not want to! What I do know is that I will move a lot. My parents live on a hill in a tiny village in Spain, we take long hikes every day, followed by walks to the village center for ice cream, and we tour different cities on foot. In fact, I move more in Spain than I do at home. It’s just that my fitness FOMO monster didn’t let me see all the built-in activity, only what I wasn’t doing. So, my fellow menopausers, let’s let go of the notion that skipping a few workouts will turn us into marshmallows. Focus on the experiences, the food, and the moments shared with loved ones. Embrace your vacation with an open mind and take the opportunity to relax, recharge, and experience new things. Go forth and conquer that beach, armed with sunscreen, a sense of adventure, and a big hearty laugh at the absurdity of our vacation fitness fears. And remember, laughter is the best ab workout–so let the vacation season commence!
Does this resonate? Email me ([email protected]) if it does, I’d love to hear about it.