Every year, I see more and more South Africans take up this wonderful sport and nothing pleases me more. People are motivated to do their first triathlon for many different reasons. Some would like to get in shape and improve their self-confidence, whilst others start triathlon to increase their social circles. Some relish the challenge of training for three completely different sports and do it to show others what is truly possible in life.
From personal experience, once I got involved in triathlon, the sport completely transformed my life. Besides meeting amazing people and forming wonderful friendships, I also follow a healthier diet and have a whole lot more energy. I am more aware to the joys of everyday life and I am a much more passionate and happier person. Although the reasons for getting involved in triathlon differ, the benefits are universal. I would like to give you a few reasons why I think we South Africans should take the plunge and get involved in this wonderful sport.
Takes you places
Our fantastic climate along with our beautiful countryside combines to provide the ideal setting for this dynamic outdoor sport. Whether your interest is mountain biking through the Drakensberg or swimming in the cold Atlantic Ocean, there is a triathlon event suited to you. Whichever the event, you are bound to have an experience of fresh air and an escape from the confines of city life.
Will make you fitter than ever before
Training for a three-sport event and engaging yourself in a balanced programme of swimming, cycling and running will make you fitter and healthier than you have ever been in your entire life. That being said, one of the very first benefits you notice when you start training for a triathlon is that your clothes will become too big due to you burning massive amounts of fat from every area of your body. Better still; the weight will come off naturally and without much effort because of your passion and drive to complete a triathlon as opposed to following a boring old diet or exercise plan.
Reduces injury risk
When you only compete in one sport, like running for example, you continually stress the same parts of your body. This can result in overuse injuries such as shinsplints, stress fractures and tendinitis. Training for a triathlon, however, combines three very different sports. This cross-training is not as strenuous on your body, because it distributes the stress more evenly to your muscles and develops a more balanced fitness. That means less pain, fewer injuries and a much stronger body.
Will get you that “Beach Body”
Triathletes are known for having some of the best physiques in the sporting world. This is because all the cross-training shapes their bodies in many complementary ways: running helps develops lean muscles; cycling builds strength and tones your lower body and swimming increases your flexibility and shapes your upper body.
Helps you avoid mental burnout
Incorporating three different sports into your weekly exercise plan helps you to avoid the mental burnout that is so common with endurance sports. When you grow tired of swimming along that mindless black line in your local pool, you can go for a run, a hike or a ride. After all, it is a whole lot more enjoyable stepping out into the world, getting sunshine on your face and having fun.
Helps you become goal focussed
There are times in our lives when we may find ourselves feeling unfulfilled and we cannot really explain why. By focusing your attention on an exciting, positive and challenging goal such as a triathlon, you can breathe renewed purpose into your life. A triathlon is a noble pursuit and an outside-the-box undertaking, and because of that people tend to wake up each morning feeling that they are on a mission.
Training and competing can motivate and inspire those around you
The determination and tenacity you show others in pursuing a triathlon may inspire them to increase their fitness levels and also encourage them to realise that they too can do more. By setting an example for someone to go after their dream or being able to make a positive change to their life, is a wonderful reward that simply cannot be matched.
The moment you finish a triathlon, I can promise you, you will be amazed at how many possibilities open up to you. The only obstacles standing in your way are you and your own fears and doubts. Hopefully this will encourage you to get involved in the fantastic sport of swimming, cycling and running known as triathlon.