If it’s tall, fast, or dangerous, then it’s probably an extreme sport. These high-risk activities have increased in popularity over the years, thanks to dedicated TV channels, websites, and competitions like the X Games. While extreme sports are a great way to get out of your comfort zone and face your fears, if improperly supervised or worse, unsupervised, they can lead to life-threatening situations.
The Pros and Cons
Any activity has its pros and cons, and it’s important to know what you’re getting into before trying out an extreme sport. Here are a few things you should know before starting your thrill-seeking journey.
You get to exercise and have fun doing it.
Most if not all extreme sports can give you a full-body workout. When you push your body’s limits, you can burn calories and lose weight while improving your balance, flexibility, and endurance. So if you want to have fun while getting a good workout in, try any sport that looks interesting to you. Just remember that safety is your number one priority when it comes to extreme sports, so don’t push yourself too hard.
You learn to face your fears.
Sometimes life can throw you into unexpected situations that have you debilitated by fear, which happens to everyone at one point or another. Extreme activities like bungee jumping or skydiving are understandably terrifying, but many people have turned the fear they’ve felt doing these things into a positive experience. As they say, the first time is always the hardest. But you won’t move forward if you don’t take that first step.
You can make new friends.
Extreme sports can foster strong friendships, as a lot of these activities involve other people. For instance, jumping out of a plane or climbing a cliff by yourself can be intimidating or even terrifying. If you have a friend with you, you’ll gain more confidence, and you’re more likely to take the risk. Extreme sports can help you face your fears, but one of the most rewarding parts about participating in these activities is the friends you make along the way.
You experience an adrenaline rush.
Dangerous situations trigger the release of adrenaline, also known as your fight-or-flight response. This is one of the main reasons people participate in extreme sports. Besides adrenaline, you also get a surge of endorphins and dopamine, usually associated with feeling good, like how you feel after a good workout. In fact, studies show that extreme sports can benefit your mental health by boosting self-confidence. These feelings keep people coming back for more, as the adrenaline rush can compare to insatiable hunger.
If you’re not careful, you could get injured badly.
Any activity is dangerous if you’re not careful. Still, the physical risk that comes with participating in extreme sports is higher considering the “extreme” speeds, heights, and risks you might come across. Even if you take the proper safety measures, you can’t control everything 100% of the time. Many enthusiasts risk getting various injuries like broken bones, head trauma (which can lead to worse conditions like brain damage), neck trauma, or even death. It’s also known that those who participate in extreme sports have more head and neck injuries.
If you’re not convinced, here are a few common injuries that come with participating in these kinds of sports. Whether or not you’re a pro athlete and think you might have landed the wrong way or hit your head, it’s best to see a medical professional right away. Injuries from extreme sports require immediate medical attention. For minor injuries like sprains or strains, use PRICE: protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. More severe cases often require surgery, and procedures like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can help your physician determine the best course of action for you. If you suffer from claustrophobia and aren’t comfortable with the tight space of a regular machine, you can ask if the hospital offers open or upright MRI tests.
Equipment is expensive.
If you’re looking to go pro, your life depends on the quality of your equipment. Extreme sports gear can get expensive, and safety tools are released regularly, so you must always have the latest equipment.
You could get in trouble if you practice your sports in public areas.
Many extreme sports have designated venues where professionals can practice their craft. However, non-pros might not see the point in paying an extra fee to get in. People who use public areas or private properties might get in trouble if they use those spaces to hone their skills. For instance, skateboarders who skate in public areas like parks or schools might be asked to leave for causing a ruckus; other times, they might even get a ticket. For those who are starting or are just casually getting into extreme sports, the rush might not be worth all the hassle.
Extreme sports is an activity that can benefit your physical and mental health greatly, but it’s important to exercise caution when participating in them. As long as you don’t get too obsessed with the thrill and know your limitations, you’ll enjoy your new life as a thrill-seeker.