Jo Whiley has revealed the transformative effect exercise has had on her life.
The BBC Radio 2 DJ, 54, who will embark on the “Dare 2 Tri” triathlon challenge for Sport Relief, said it has helped her manage stress and self-esteem issues – joking it “saves on therapy”.
She will be joined by Reverend Kate Bottley and Richie Anderson for the challenge, which will see the trio take on freezing cold open water swims, cycle routes and runs in three different UK cities, across three nations, over three days.
She will embark on a triathlon in Cardiff in March 11, Glasgow on March 12 and in Manchester on March 13, the day of Sport Relief and will also host her regular Radio 2 show from each city as she goes.
Whiley said the first time she attempted a triathlon she was “dragged into it”, but added: “I roped in a whole load of other friends as well to do it with me and it was life changing for all of us because none of us were mega-sporty people, we weren’t those people that were out running constantly.
“But it’s having a challenge, having something to focus on and work towards and muddle our way through.
“And there were so many different benefits for all of us personally, this amazing sense of camaraderie while we were doing the challenge and at the end of it a fantastic sense of accomplishment.
“So I’ve experienced that myself and seen how it affected my other friends who were struggling with various issues in their lives and it seemed to be a really good thing to get involved with, to spread the word about the power of sport in changing lives.”
She added: “I think for me it helped on days when I was struggling, whether it was with stress or self worth or just wanting to feel better about life and it completely made me feel better about life I think.
“It was probably not as dramatic for me as it was for other friends but it instantly gave me a sense of purpose and it’s something that is part of my life constantly now, going running and swimming or getting out there and being active.
“I just do it all the time, whereas my life didn’t used to be like that, so I just feel fitter and happier than I used to be and that is because I’ve started doing sport.
“When I was younger I was working and muddling my way through life, whereas now I feel I’ve got more focus I think.
“I do it with my family as well, and friends, I feel like I’ve got really good relationships with people that I probably never would have been friends with but we go out and we do do sport together and have become really good friends.
“It saves on therapy, we just gossip and talk and help each other out.”
Money raised for Sport Relief will support people living incredibly tough lives in the UK and around the world. Find out how you can get involved at sportrelief.com/get-involved.