So You Can Get off the Couch for Good1 of 11
One of the many benefits to triathlon training is its variedness. Studies on exercise adherence have shown that people who start running routines often burn out due to boredom. As a triathlete, you have three different sports to practice regularly so you're chances of getting bored are limited. Once the race is done, you're still more likely to stay active because while you may not like swimming, you can simply choose to focus on running and cycling for a while.
For Your (Way) Future Self2 of 11
It's one of those hard facts of life--one day you will wake up and realize you're in your later years. There is no time like the present to start taking care of that older version of you by eating right and exercising regularly--and signing up for a triathlon. Numerous studies have proven again and again that regular cardiovascular exercise can help prevent certain types of cancer, reduce your risk of heart disease, prevent type 2 diabetes and extend your life expectancy.
And according to the Mayo Clinic, starting a regular exercise program can also prevent future falls (particularly those that cause hip fracture) and stave off arthritis.
So You Can Do a Happy Dance3 of 11
Training for a race gives your life a renewed passion, purpose and drive--which can improve your mood on a daily basis and even help fight depression. With upwards of 10 hours of training a week for your average Olympic-distance triathlon, that's enough mood-boosting cardio to make you do a happy dance during even your most stressful work meetings.
A lot of these exercised-induced feel-good emotions are due to the increase of oxygen to your muscles and organs (like your brain), as well as the release of endorphins. This is truly powerful stuff, so powerful that post-race blues--the period of depression people often feel after a race is over--has been proven to be a real phenomenon, akin to coming down off of a drug. So sign up for your next race right away and let the good times roll.
For Your Libido4 of 11
There's a reason your cubicle mate who swims Masters every morning and rides his bike to work seems to have an extra bounce in his step. Studies have shown that regular physical activity leads to enhanced arousal in women, and can decrease the risk of erectile dysfunction in men. Enough said.
So You Can Meet Your Soulmate5 of 11
"Ironman. Ironwoman. Ironcouple," so says the slogan of fitness-singles.com—the world's largest online dating site dedicated to fitness fanatics.
Better yet, just sign up for a race and join a local training group. You're guaranteed to meet other single people who you'll have at least one thing in common with. Even if sparks don't fly you'll definitely meet some new friends and possibly renew your faith in the dating game.
For Your Tennis Elbow6 of 11
Training for a triathlon means you get to do a variety of exercise sessions each week, instead of focusing on one sport or exercise routine over and over again. Have a bad shoulder? Well you'll get to rest it several days a week while cycling and running while still strengthening it during your swim workouts.
The inherent cross-training in triathlon helps you get a more well-rounded physique: lean running muscles, powerful cycling quads and impressive upper-body swimming strength. Throw in some strength training on top of that, and you'll be getting some serious muscle that will help keep injuries at bay for years to come.
So You Can Impress Your Boss7 of 11
Suddenly, you're no longer just Matt from accounting. You're "Matt, that super triathlete guy who happens to work in accounting." This new work identity will not only give you confidence on the job, but will also give your work peers more confidence in you. They'll be impressed with your ability to juggle a training schedule along with your work and day-to-day life, and that could just help you land that important project you've been vying for.
So You Can Give Back8 of 11
Signing up for a race that raises money for charity is not only easy to find, it's also incredibly rewarding. There are hundreds of triathlons with fundraising options, but some popular ones include the Marin County Triathlon and the Santa Barbara Triathlon.
For Your Kids9 of 11
There's nothing like seeing the look on your kid's face when they watch you cross the finish line of a triathlon. You are, in that moment, an actual superhero. While that's reason enough to sign up, the benefits for your child are long lasting.
They are more likely to be active themselves, less likely to be obese and you'll one day reach the parenting jackpot when you can go for a swim, ride or run with your teenager and they actually tell you what's going on in their lives. Those are family bonding moments that just can't be measured.
For Your Skinny Jeans10 of 11
Let's be honest here: If you're looking to lose some weight, you've got to take a hard look at your diet and jump on the treadmill a little bit. That being said, signing up for a triathlon will provide you with so many other benefits (like the previous nine, for example), that weight loss is just the icing on the cake. So if you're seeking a heart-healthy, fun, social, motivating, mind-boosting and libido-humming activity that also makes your favorite pair of jeans fit like a glove once again--sign up for that triathlon (and maybe plan a little post-race shopping spree).