Advertising
Advertising

4 Extreme Sports That Will Get You In Shape and Expand Your Comfort Zone

4 Extreme Sports That Will Get You In Shape and Expand Your Comfort Zone

Have you ever been flipping through the channels and landed on one of those X Games competitions on ESPN?

You might have thought to yourself something along the lines of “Wow, I wish I could do that” or “Oh my gosh, I could never do that!”

Well, chances are, you’re probably at least halfway right: You could never do what these professionals do in your current state. The people you see laughing in the face of danger while performing death-defying stunts have dedicated their entire lives to doing what they do, so there’s no shame in not being on their level.

But that doesn’t mean participating in extreme sports is completely out of the question for you.

By nature, extreme sports are those in which the risk of injury is high if you don’t know what you’re doing. Because of this, they require participants to be in top physical condition in a variety of specific areas.

Advertising

If simply going to the gym seems like a boring way to get in shape, maybe you should check out some of the following activities to not only get you up off the couch, but also help expand your horizons.

Mountain Biking

It’s one thing to hop on a stationary bike at your local gym for an hour and pedal up and down virtual hills while watching the news. Taking your mountain bike out into the real world requires a lot more than just leg strength.

Biking through forests and over rocky terrain requires you to have complete control over your body and bike. You need to be able to counteract any bumps in the road through balanced actions while not overcorrecting too much and ending up on the ground.

You’ll also need to utilize your upper body strength to keep your wheels pointed in the direction of your path. As previously mentioned, this isn’t something you need to worry about when taking a virtual tour on a stationary bike from the comfort of your gym.

Getting in shape isn’t all about physicality – it has a lot to do with mental toughness as well. You need to maintain focus during your bike ride, and be prepared for any danger that comes across your path. Letting your guard down for even a second could lead to disaster, so keep your eyes on the road.

Advertising

Mountain Climbing

For those of you not absolutely terrified of heights, mountain climbing is a great way to work your core, build up stamina, and do something most people would never dream of doing.

Mountain climbing requires you to not just haul yourself up the side of a mountain, but your backpack full of equipment, as well. Because of this, you’ll need to do some basic strength training exercises from the safety of your home or gym. Once you’re strong enough to support the extra weight on your back, you’ll be a little more prepared to do so while scaling up a mountain.

You’ll also need to build up your stamina before your first climb. Natural mountains don’t exactly have rest points built into them, so once you get started you won’t be able to stop if you start to feel tired. Make sure you have the endurance to make it to a safe spot at all times.

You’ll also need to take into consideration the fact that the higher you go, the harder you’ll have to work. There really isn’t any way to prepare for the different feeling of climbing at higher altitudes other than to just do it, so it’s best to over-prepare yourself, knowing you’ll naturally be weaker the higher you go.

Surfing/Waterskiing

If you’ve ever seen professionals surf, or even watched seemingly everyday people waterski, you might have thought it looks pretty easy. You simply stand up on the board or skis and let the waves push you or the boat pull you, right?

Advertising

Obviously, it’s not that simple. Both require a lot of physical and mental prowess throughout the entire process.

First of all, you need to be patient. Rushing into either activity will lead to immediate failure. Whether waiting for the perfect wave or waiting for the exact right time to stand, you have to understand that the water is an outside factor which you cannot control. Wait for conditions to be optimal before you dive in.

Speaking of diving in, you’ll obviously need to be a great swimmer before you participate in either of these activities. You’ll need to be able to get to shore if things go wrong, which usually means battling undertow or unexpected circumstances. Large bodies of water are completely unpredictable, so make sure you can counteract nature with your physical abilities before trying these extreme sports.

As previously mentioned, waterskiing and surfing aren’t just about standing up and going along for the ride. You need to be in complete control of your body at all times. This includes maintaining balance, shifting your weight, and leaning in to counteract natural bumps along the way. As with all extreme sports, you’re not a passive observer when engaged in waterskiing or surfing; you’re an active participant who needs to know what their doing at all times in order to stay afloat.

Skiing

Though we can all agree that the dangers of skiing are fairly obvious, many of us probably think it’s pretty simple. Not that it’s easy by any means; it just seems pretty straightforward: Get dropped off at the top of a hill, stand up, and don’t hit any trees on the way down.

Advertising

If only it were that easy.

Skiing requires you to utilize a variety of strengths and skills in conjunction with one another at all times.

First of all, you need to remember the ground under you isn’t solid; it’s, ideally, the most powdery snow imaginable. Of course, this means the ground underneath your skis will constantly shift with your weight as you race down the hill. If you don’t distribute your weight correctly, you’ll end up quickly going off course – and likely right into danger.

You’ll also need to be able to shift your footing (called edging) in order to turn when necessary. Subtle shifts in your ankles and feet determine the angle at which your ski hits the snow, and determine how smooth your run will be. Edging requires a combination of balance and leg strength to be able to pull off correctly.

Finally, skiing utilizes the ball-and-socket joints in your hips in a technique called rotary movement. Used in conjunction with edging, rotary movements are the best way in which to steer your skis. It requires you to not only have control of your legs, but also your hips and torso as you race downhill.

Featured photo credit: Surf / Eduardo Avalith / Flickr via farm9.staticflickr.com

More by this author

Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

12 Self-Destructive Habits to Eliminate for a Positive Life 7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience 20 Little Signs You’ve Found The One 8 Signs of a Man Who Will Never Ever Stop Loving You 8 Things To Remember When Dating Someone With A Guarded Heart

Trending in Fitness

1 10 Best Fitness Trackers to Improve Your Health 2 The Ultimate Workout Routine for Men (Tailored for Different Fitness Level) 3 10 Best HIIT Workout Exercises to Burn Calories Fast 4 9 Effective Quad Stretches to Reduce Pain During & After Workout 5 The Ultimate 5-Day Workout Routine for Women to Get Strong and Toned

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 28, 2020

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

Advertising

Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

1. Quinoa

GI: 53

Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

GI: 50

Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

3. Corn on the Cob

GI: 48

Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

4. Bananas

GI: 47

Advertising

Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

5. Bran Cereal

GI: 43

Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

6. Natural Muesli

GI: 40

Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

7. Apples

GI: 40

Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

Advertising

8. Apricots

GI: 30

Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

9. Kidney Beans

GI: 29

Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

10. Barley

GI: 22

Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

Advertising

11. Raw Nuts

GI: 20

Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

12. Carrots

GI: 16

Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

13. Greek Yogurt

GI: 12

Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

14. Hummus

GI: 6

When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

More Tips on Eating Healthy

Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next