Water sports are a great opportunity to strike the body/mind balance because of water’s natural ability to calm and inspire. In his book, Blue Mind, marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols explains his research on the connection between body, mind and water: "When we step away from our high-stressed lives and step into nature, we get a shift. Physiologically, our brains and bodies change. We relax, and the quality of our thought changes. […] Oftentimes it leads to feelings of connectedness and that can lead to innovative thoughts,” Nichols writes. While his work is largely focused on the ocean, additional research on water’s mind/body connection has proven that lakes and rivers also have positive effects on wellbeing.
Given this, sports like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are two ideal ways for triathletes to maintain fitness (by working the upper body and core) while giving them the benefit of a rare "bird's eye" view of things.
Age group triathlete Susanne Navas does SUP in the ocean and finds it to be more zen than her usual workouts. "In triathlon, we tend to get obsessed with splits, volume, intervals, pace, and other quantifiable factors. SUP is a chance to step out of the rigidity of training and just 'be'" the 45-year-old triathlete says. "And it’s a time to surrender our egos and relinquish our desire to control everything because let’s face it—the ocean is in control," she adds.