There are people who search out adrenaline fixes, for whom throwing themselves off a ridiculously high precipice, or skiing off piste, is the best way to feel alive.
And then there are those of us who like to stay safe, knowing exactly where we are, keeping our feet firmly on terra firma.
But there are some challenges that aren’t necessarily death defying, that can keep us fit and healthy and be good for our confidence.
Take for example charity challenges – such as hiking along the Great Wall of China, or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the MoonWalk challenge- walking the London Marathon route overnight, or cycling to Paris.
The great thing about challenges that are organised by specialist teams is that you gain plenty of moral support and motivation to train towards these goals. Many charities produce their own training plans for you to follow, and offer catch up days where you can meet other members of your challenge team. These challenges are great for beginners, and not only are they good for your health, but they are good for your moral wellbeing – after all, raising money for charity always makes people feel good.
Taking up a challenge can literally knock years off your life. The exercise alone helps to build bone density and improve circulation, therefore improving the look of your skin and increasing your flexibility and all round movement. Keeping physically active slows down the ageing process. You’ll feel younger in body thanks to keeping in shape, and you’ll also feel younger in mind by having an exciting goal you can look forward to.
It gives meaning
Having a focus gives you something to talk about with your friends – it gives you a goal for that year. Going for a challenge can take your mind off work and everyday life and gives a new dimension that you can even put on your CV. It also makes you more of an interesting individual, as the more exciting things you have done in your life, the more interested other people will be.
Exercise has many benefits and some of the lesser known ones include helping to prevent deadly diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Keeping active can keep mental disorders such as depression at bay, and gives you a better chance at a long and healthy life.
It’s all inclusive
Anyone can take on pretty any challenge, there is no discrimination on age, sex, ability or race. The only thing there to stand in your way is your own determination. As long as you are up for the challenge, the rest comes naturally and you’ll succeed. The oldest man to climb Everest was 80 years old, and the youngest person to trek to the South Pole was 16-year-old Lewis Smith. It just goes to prove that anything is possible at any age.
Once you’ve completed one challenge, very often people find that they need another one to fill a gap left after they’ve finished. It can be slightly addictive and the main catalyst is the buzz that achieving something remarkable can give you. It’s great if you’ve got yourself into an exercise regime in training for a challenge, as once you have it is very hard to get out of this routine, and again is a great way to look after your body.
Feel good through giving
It’s a great feeling when you give something back. Often people take on a challenge in memory of a loved one, or to raise money for a charity or cause close to their heart. If you can raise money or awareness for something you believe in by your own hard work, blood, sweat and tears, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences. The feeling of giving something back to a community or to others who are in need will surely spur you on, no matter how tough the challenge.
Meet new people
Challenges are often a group affair, unless you are planning a solo sailing trip around the world. People who share a common goal, all thrown together can make some great friends for life and meet some extraordinary and interesting people. Certainly for older people, where making new friends can be much harder, taking on a challenge is a great way to meet people and to lose that sense of loneliness. Motivation from friends and from those who understand what you’re going through is the best sort and can give you a real boost.
So all in all, there aren’t many downsides to taking on a challenge. Ensure you set enough time aside for training, and also make sure that your family back what you are doing. Keep them involved and they will enjoy the adventure too.
one more rep than the others is good enough for me - it still counts as a 'win'.
I love a challenge. And it doesn't always have to be an epic one, sometimes just beating my mates at reps on the pull up bar is enough to make me feel good!
After doing several 'challenges' I can vouch for the fact that they make you feel amazing. The training in the weeks beforehand takes on a new meaning, and it really keeps me focused on my health and fitness. I'm hoping to one day do something amazing like cycle from Lands End to John O'Groats, What an inspiration for our children that sort of thing is.
The best way to motivate yourself is to have a goal. But once the run/cycle/climb is over it's all too easy to slip back into not doing anything. Amazing feeling when you achieve what you were working towards though.