When you canâ€™t remember the last time you saw your running shoes, and you find it difficult to see your feet when standing upright, attempting a triathlon might seem as achievable as winning the lottery.
If youâ€™re serious about it though, and you give yourself enough time to train and increase you fitness, it is sure to be the best decision you will ever make.
The benefits to your health will be one hundred-fold, but in the interests of taking up too much of your time (away from formulating your triathlon training program), I have compiled the top five benefits to spur you on in achieving the seemingly impossible:
1. Shedding those lbs
Nothing burns more calories than training for a triathlon.
The combination of swimming, cycling and running – known as cross training – will make you fitter than youâ€™ve ever been in your life, as well as burning huge amounts of fat from every area of your body.
Training for this three sport event will push you to eat a well-balanced diet, as well as fuelling yourself with things you know will give you energy to reach that next milestone. The age-old method of guilt-induced diets and tedious exercise plans are gone. Say hello to exercise you want to do, and a healthy diet that seems less of a chore to stick to.
2. 10 years younger
As well as slimming down, your body will be given a new lease of life. The lower health and fitness standards of pre-triathlon you, will be replaced with higher expectations and achievable goals to getting you to the fitness level you need to compete.
As we get older, we begin to accept that our health is deteriorating and that our fitness will deplete, but that does not have to be the case. Weâ€™ve all seen the 60-year-old guy smashing through marathons, triathlons and any other hard-core event you can think of.
So, no matter how wrinkly or rotund you feel, there is always a way to turn it around with a gently increasing training program that will take you from zero to hero, knocking ten years off you in a matter of months.
Each aspect of a triathlon offers its own health benefits, helping to sculpt you into a god or goddess. Swimming creates definition in your upper body and improves flexibility, while running develops long and lean muscles, leaving cycling to tone the lower body while slowly building strength.
3. Increase in energy
A dramatic increase in your exercise and the change in your diet will help to heighten your energy levels and improve productivity. Although some training sessions will be gruelling to get through, and you will obviously be tired afterwards, your overall energy levels will be much higher offering a positive effect.
You will also be able to focus and think more clearly, eradicating those days when you donâ€™t know whether youâ€™re coming or going.
Triathlon training is an effective method of getting fit without fatigue, and with each barrier you push though, the achievement will spur you on to reach the next goal, and the next.
4. Reducing the risk of injury
When you stick to just one sport â€“ running, for example – you continue to stress the same body parts resulting in common injuries such as shin splints.
There is nothing more frustrating than a willing mind, but a body that is lacking. Injuries can set you back weeks in terms of your training, and seriously affect your level of enthusiasm and commitment to getting fit.
With triathlon training, you are pushing yourself in three different sports, which each focus on different parts of your body. So, with a more balanced method of fitness, you can enjoy being injury-free for longer, resulting in less pain and a stronger body.
5. Mental Health
Looking at the myriad of physical health benefits to triathlon training, it would be easy to overlook the mental aspects of improvement, in terms of happiness and motivation.
When you begin to improve your health, you also start to improve your perspective on what you can achieve and how far you can push yourself. You will begin to notice an increased level of self-confidence and a difference in the way others perceive you.
Completing a triathlon is highly impressive, so you will have to try to reign in the bragging and name-dropping in every conversion you partake in. Acting nonchalant about the 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and the 10km run you are about to undertake will be a hard task to attempt, but attempt it you must.
So, with all these benefits the only question left for you to ask, is â€œWhen can I start?â€!
Katherine Weir is an avid writer of all things health, food and exercise related, working in collaboration with ActivInstinct.Â