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Vegan Triathlete - no age barrier
by Ruth Heidrich - from IVU News Oct 2000

The Vegetarian Athlete! Ah, these two words sum up a healthy life-style. Actually, I would like to take it two steps further: Vegan Triathlete!

As I always like to say, "If it ain't vegan, it ain't vegetarian," because this allows for no animal food whatsoever. We get all the nutrients we need from plant foods with none of the saturated fat, cholesterol, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, etc., from animal foods. This also allows us to get away from the exploitation and the inhumane treatment of animals.

Then the "triathlete" part: I would like to see people develop at least three sports which they love (proficiency is NOT a requirement). In the case of triathlons, between the running, swimming, and biking, we have total body exercise, because all three sports stress the upper and lower body to a greater or lesser extent, are excellent in terms of cardiovascular and pulmonary development, bone and muscle strengthener, and, in my opinion, are fun. Exercise is a well-known mood enhancer as well and is frequently prescribed as an antidote for depression.

This brings up the motivational aspect of being a Vegetarian/Vegan Athlete/Triathlete: the best way to get yourself to exercise is to make it fun, and most people remember that when they were a kid, they loved games and competition. I've seen people go to extraordinary lengths (myself included) to put on that extra burst of speed at the end of a race to beat a friend, or go that extra mile to finish a 10K or a marathon. The rewards are many. Besides those mentioned above, most races give its entrants a t-shirt, refreshments at the finish, and, in many cases, some hardware in the form of a trophy. And, this is one case where being older is better because the field narrows as one ages. I've told countless people in their 70's, 80's and even beyond, that all they have to do is enter and cross the finish line and they'll win. That's because they'll usually be the only one in their age group. Then, too, the last person crossing the finish line gets the most applause.

So, as I said, there are lots of benefits to exercise. And if you're putting the proper fuel, i.e., whole plant foods in your engine, and if you do the training, you're going to be healthier, happier, and a winner in your "Race For Life."

Dr. Heidrich has a Ph.D. in Health Management with majors in Nutriuion and Exercise Phisiology. She is a breast cancer survivor and has completed the Ironman Triathlon six times, run 67 marathons, accumulated inure than 700 first place trophies, and set numerous fitness records including being named "One of the Ten Fittest Wonien in North America" by Living Fit Magazine. She is also the author of "A Race For Life" and 'The Race For Life Cookbook."

To contact Ruth with questions or for articles:
Ruth E. Heidrich, Ph.D. 1415 Victoria St. #1106, Honolulu, HI 96822
Ask Dr. Ruth:
ruthheidrich@Juno com

Contributions to IVU News are welcomed. Material published does not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or the policy of the International Vegetarian Union.