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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Triathletes and Death

It's one of the great paradoxes of triathlete training.

You take up biking, running and swimming to improve your health. To live longer. To enjoy a better quality of life. To drop those unwanted pounds.

But there are risks involved in these activities.

Swimmers drown.
Cyclists get hit by cars.
Runners drop dead of heart attacks.

This week, a woman was killed in Burlington, Ontario, while training for triathlon. Reports say she was taking a corner when she lost control and slid into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

36 years old. Mother of two young girls. An inspiration and role model for them... and while taking part in the activity that made her an example for them to follow, she loses her life. My heart goes out to her family, it's very tragic.

It's hard not to relate to her as I approach my own 35th birthday with 3 young kids that I am trying to be an example to. I've had close calls, I've even been hit by a truck.

But what is riskier - swimming, cycling and running? Or sitting on a couch 50lbs north of where you should be?

This chart pretty much sums it up.

When I started this journey, my BMI was 32 - I was at "high risk" of mortality. Not from being hit by a car, not from drowning, but from just being too fat for my own good.

I had bone density problems. My knees and back were often sore. My cholestorol was starting to show signs of trouble, blood pressure was getting high. And the final blow was my insulin sensitivity started showing early warning signs... this is serious stuff!

... all of which went away. My last physical everything was 100%.

So yes, there's a risk when you get on the bike, or go for a swim.

But on balance, I personally enjoy a significantly higher quality of life taking part in these activities. I've increased my odds of being here for the long haul, being here for my kids and their kids.

The risk of not doing anything is far higher than the risk of exercise.

That being said - be careful out there!

1 comment:

Boris T said...

Man my thoughts go out to her family.

Say Jono do you still need an extra team member?