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Don’t Be Afraid to Tri

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Have you considered doing a triathlon, but thought it was out of your reach? Think again. There are many options, whether you are a beginner to fitness or an experienced athlete.

In case you didn’t already know, a triathlon combines the three sports of swimming, bicycling and running into one event. It has become a very popular fitness goal in the last several years. British Triathlon Media says participation in triathlons has increased by 10% since 2010.

“Triathlons are great for people looking for a challenge," said professional Triathlete Becky Gibbs Lavelle. "Whether an athlete looking for a new challenge or a weekend warrior, it's a great way to reach your physical goals, while executing a steady workout plan with everyday life."

The physical benefits of a triathlon include:
• Working the entire body (versus certain muscles), therefore giving you a balanced workout plus a lean, muscular physique.
• Increased calorie burn(due to high-intensity cardiovascular training) to increase the potential for weight loss
• Swimming and cycling are both non weight-bearing sports, so there is less stress on the body. Because of the mix of weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing exercise, people who train for triathlons reduce the risk of joint pain and injury.
• The cross-training offers improved stamina and athletic performance and increased power, flexibility and stability.
• Of course, regular exercise can lower blood pressure, prevent cancer and heart disease, reduce the risk of osteoporosis and prevent the development of diabetes.

In addition, people who train for a specific goal are much more likely to stick with their programs.
Triathlons are classified as short, intermediate, long, and ultra, depending on their length – so there is one suitable for just about everyone. For beginners, look for a “sprint” distance triathlon which involve a half-mile swim, a 12-mile bike ride, and a 5K run. Use a dedicated training plan, such as the 8-Week plan from Fitness Magazine, to train.

Ladies, the Carolinas has Women-only beginner triathlon events each year. The Ramblin’ Rose triathlon, presented by Endurance Magazine, consists of a 250-yard pool swim, a nine mile bike ride and a 2 mile run (depending upon location, the distance for the swim and bike portions may vary slightly). Women of all shapes, sizes and age participate each year.

The last three events of 2013 will be in Winston-Salem (August 18), Huntersville (September 22), and Chapel Hill (October 6). Register online at Ramblinroseevents.com.

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