Humans are made to move. This is clear by the huge number of benefits exercise has for mind and body.
“There is a linear relation between physical activity and health status; an increase in physical activity and fitness directly improves your health status,” says Craig Nossel, head of Discovery Vitality Wellness in South Africa.
“Exercise can easily get boring or routine,” notes Steph Donaldson, Discovery Vitality biokineticist. “The multidisciplinary nature of triathlons keeps training interesting and challenging. Plus, the variety of racing distances makes it accessible for all fitness levels: from kids’ races and sprint distances right through to ultra-distance races.” In short — multisport offers something for everyone.
Multisport also has a great social element. Family and friends can get involved, which is a great motivator to keep you exercising.
There are many health and fitness benefits of multisport training. These include:
Full body strengthening: Each aspect of a triathlon offers its own health benefits. Swimming creates definition in your upper body and improves flexibility; running develops long and lean muscles; and cycling tones the lower body while building strength.
Strengthens bones: People who run often have a higher bone density than those who don’t. That’s because the body increases the density of bones in an effort to accommodate for the impact of running. Running boosts bone strength and development more than cycling or swimming do.
Improved health: A regular combination of swimming, cycling and running can help you lower your blood pressure; prevent diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and cancer; as well as lower the risk of osteoporosis or depression.
A workout for the arteries: The inner lining of artery walls can be damaged by factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and the wear and tear of ageing. Injured spots in the lining, in turn, are often the starting points for the growth of plaques that can block arteries, leading to a heart attack. Researchers believe that the regular expansion and contraction of arteries during exercise keeps the blood vessels “in shape” and preserves their inner lining.
Mental health: 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.
Quick tip: You get a sense of achievement by completing a race, improving your overall fitness levels and progressing to the next racing distance. These feats help to improve your self-confidence and self-image.
More 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 grueling, and you will obviously be tired afterwards, your overall energy levels will be much higher.
“We’ve invested in multisport to encourage greater activity levels, especially among novice athletes. The beauty of multisport is that anyone can do it. There are events to suit all ability and fitness levels, and it’s a great way for families to spend time together having fun,” says Nossel.
“Many studies have shown that maintaining a minimum quantity and quality of exercise decreases the risk of death, prevents the development of certain cancers, lowers the risk of osteoporosis and increases longevity. Training programs should include exercises aimed at improving cardio-respiratory fitness and muscle function, as well as flexibility and balance,” adds Nossel. “Multidisciplinary sports can be a great way to accomplish these health and well-being benefits.”