Tuesday

Triathlon versus the Medication

This is a first. No, its not the first goal I've reached but it is one I'm very happy about. This achievement ranks up there with finishing my first 5K or sprint distance triathlon. 

You see, since I was a teenager I've been on blood pressure lowering medication. That's right, I've had high blood pressure since the age of 16. I'm now 49. 

The doctors have tried a variety of medications over these many years to get (and keep) my systolic and diastolic under control. Diet and exercise have always been part of the plan but never seemed to play as big a role as one would hope. Even as an amateur kick boxer fighting at 177 pounds my blood pressure was still a few ticks above the norm. A "good" reading for me has been in the range of 140/90...thats considered high by most standards. But thats me, even on medication. 

But not today. After 17 months of consistent endurance training my blood pressure is now considered normal or even low. Today, after reviewing months and months of readings, my doctor has stopped the medication.

And if that's not enough...my cholesterol values continue to be within normal for the second consecutive three-month period. That means the dose of lipid lowering medication that was cut in half several months ago is, you guessed it...gone. 

For the first time in adult life I don't have to take prescription medication. Why? Because I've done something totally different. I've trained differently. I've competed differently. I'm living differently. 

At the risk of sounding like a weight loss info-mercial, I can honestly say "I owe it all to triathlon." Well, maybe not "all." The desire to stay alive has something to do with it, too. 

What is clear to me is that training for endurance events has done something to my body that decades of diet, exercise, and medications couldn't. Looking past the medication its easy to see the ripple of benefits this type of training has brought to me. My body weight is down over fifty pounds, BMI down 7 kg/m2, and eleven inched off my waistline. I may just make it to fifty years old yet!

Enjoying the multi-sport lifestyle keeps training interesting and fun. There's always a variety of workouts and swim/bike/run combos that keep things fresh. I feel in tune with my body systems and having multiple disciplines to choose from means training isn't getting old anytime soon. 

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