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I'm taking on the biggest challenge of my life at 51 – and you can too!

Farrah Herbert shares how endurance sports keep her physically and mentally well

Women in cycling gear
Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
12 April 2024
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Farrah Herbert has always been active, turning her hand to everything from kayaking to rock climbing, horse riding to karate, but at 51, she appreciates her attitude to exercise might need to change.

"Thanks to my ageing body, I realise I need to be gentler when it comes to exercise," she tells HELLO! "As we get older, our cartilage, tendons and joints need be looked after."

That said, getting older hasn't deterred Farrah from taking on a new challenge, tackling Threshold Sports' nine-day endurance cycling event, Ride Across Britain.

Woman in cycling gear
Farrah is taking on a new challenge

"I have to have a goal to work toward," Farrah admits. "It helps motivate me, but not only is this a new personal challenge. I also hope that by participating I can encourage other cyclists across the LGBTQ+ community to feel inspired to take on greater challenges and encourage inclusivity."

As a trans woman, Farrah says that exercise has been crucial during mental health struggles. "I've learnt that when life is really tough and I'm feeling particularly low, going for a long run, ride or swim allows me to escape the negativity that I’m experiencing, which often comes from social media," she says.

"Exercising allows me to clear my mind and concentrate on the activity at hand, focusing on my breathing, pace, and rhythm.  It's like meditation except it comes with physical health benefits, plus it also releases happy endorphins."

Farrah hasn't always been so upbeat, candidly sharing that the feeling of being trapped in the wrong body became so overwhelming that she considered taking her own life.

Woman in cap and orange top
Exercise helped Farrah through tough times

Despite now living happily as a trans woman, Farrah still faces discrimination, even in sport. "Acceptance has become an issue, not since I transitioned, but since all the negative media and bans for transgender people in sports that have recently been introduced," she says. "There is a lot of false information and hatred being whipped up about trans women and that has been quite tough."

READ: What midlife women want you to know about exercise 

Farrah hopes that taking part in events such as Ride Across Britain will help end the misinformation, explaining: "I hope that my participation can help break down barriers and enhance the visibility of our community in traditionally male-dominated, hetero-centric spaces."

With her biggest challenge to date just around the corner, Farrah implores the importance of staying active as we age, saying: "Exercise is more important now than ever. I believe that you don't stop exercising because you get old, you get old, because you stop exercising."

As well as raising awareness for trans women in sport, Farrah is fundraising for  Children with Cancer UK, a cause close to her heart after her now grown-up son Ollie was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma when he was five. Visit her fundraising page here.

Introducing HELLO!'s Second Act

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HELLO! wanted to create a space dedicated to sharing incredible stories from midlife; somewhere you can find inspiring stories of like-minded women, living their best life beyond 45.

Enter, Second Act...

For too long, we were expected to fade into the background when we hit 45, but we're here to reframe your Second Act as a celebratory, exciting new chapter with endless possibilities ahead.

From women who embarked on new careers in their fifties, to those who travelled the world alone after their children left home, to women who finally felt confident when they reached their forties, Second Act is devoted to celebrating the incredible stories of midlife, and we'd love to have you along for the journey - because being part of a community makes everything more enjoyable.

Visit HELLO!'s Second Act hub 

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