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Extreme Sports Demystified: How Adrenaline Affects Your Health

Extreme Sports Demystified: How Adrenaline Affects Your Health

Have you ever tried some extreme sports? Have you ever thought about it?

If your closest experience to extreme is running an extra mile on a treadmill or finally getting the courage to ask that girl from the gym on a date, you can say you’re in a rut. Add a fact that you’re not satisfied with your fitness level or overall health and you’re set to fail. That’s all because of monotony training and lifestyle. No change of program or diet would get your blood flowing, or get you to scream of joy.

You know these guys that you see on a Nike commercial, climbing the insanely steep ledges of some rock, hanging upside down?

I’m talking about Iron Man contenders, mountain bikers, surfers here. All of them can perfectly fit the cover of Men’s Health without a sweat, and they seem to have such an amazing time doing the thing they love (often for money), looking amazing, and enjoying a perfect health. What could be their secret?

The adrenaline.

There is an old but gold saying: “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

When it gets to the adrenaline sports, it won’t kill you, but it will definitely make you stronger in many different ways.

There is a proven fact that you can improve your health a lot thanks to adrenaline sports; besides from pure excitement and great times, you can lose some weight, get stronger, more flexible, improve your concentration… The list goes on and on.

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Just imagine, you wake up one day and instead of going to your regular gym or fitness club, you dress up and go for a round of free running (Parkour) with your friends, or maybe go to a mountain biking park and hit some routes designed to get your heart pumping. If you live near the sea, imagine doing jet skiing, kitesurfing, or regular surfing every now and then. Life would be so awesome, huh?

So why not “just do it”?

Today, we are breaking the chains of fear and leap for the perfect adrenaline rush; we’re tackling some things that you see only on television and imagine: “Boy, how awesome it would be to fly like these guys…”

Get informed on a particular sport you find most appealing, gear up, and change your life. I dare you.

1. Sandboarding

One of the best things when it gets to sandboarding is how it can be used for the whole year long. No matter if the snow is gone or skateboarding areas are crowded; you just pick your sandboard and go to the closest sandy area with your friends to enjoy your day. What is even better, if you are a traveler, this is a sport that can take you around the world to find the best places for sandboarding! Also, what’s great about this extreme sport is that it is not dangerous at all.

extreme sports demystified - sandboarding

    If you are interested, all you have to do is to get yourself a board and start practicing on a sand hill with the small drop. Before you go sandboarding, you will need equipment, and if you want to know what kind of equipment you need, check out some sandboarding equipment and tips.

    By making some cool jumps and strong turns on the sand slopes, you will not only become better at sandboarding, but also you will strengthen your legs and joints of the hips, knees, and ankles. The adrenaline can be compared to snowboarding, and the rush of hitting the sand dunes is amazing. Don’t be afraid to try it out!

    2. Sand Kiting

    Let’s turn it up a notch from sandboarding. Sand kiting is becoming more and more popular all around the world, wherever you can find decent sandy areas. For this type of sport, you do not need a lot of equipment, and the best part is, the very same equipment you can use for water kiting. All you need is a kite, a board, and a helmet. There is an option with wheels and option for both water and sand; each with its advantages and downsides. Choose by your preference.

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    extreme sports demystified - sand kiting

      By practicing this type of extreme sport you will also become a bit stronger, you will strengthen your core and arms significantly. Having fun and getting stronger – what else could you wish for? So, if you are lucky enough and going to ride the sand with your friends, make sure to get yourself properly geared.

      Remember, safety first! A strong wind can throw you high in the air, and you may end with only your feet sticking out of the sand.

      3. Scootering

      As a kid, you have probably had a scooter similar like this on the image and chances are that by growing up, you ditched it. Well, extreme scootering is a thing nowadays, and it can be a really exciting extreme sport.

      extreme sports demystified - scootering

        Apart from the fact that you will be having fun while driving your scooter and performing stunts, you will also exercise and lose weight at the same time, without even noticing. By driving the stunt scooter, you can lose six calories per minute! Who would have thought?

        Unlike the regular scooters, all you have to buy to is a stunt scooter, protectors for arms and knees, and a helmet. Gearing up won’t be a big problem, just follow the article on how to choose the perfect scooter.

        4. Snowboarding

        One of the iconic extreme sports, snowboarding never loses its popularity. The benefits of snowboarding are many; this type of extreme sport is awesome and health-beneficial at the same time. The fact about the snowboarding that you probably didn’t know is that by practicing it, you can get a bigger brain, and it can reverse the mental decline of aging.

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        extreme sports demystified - snowboarding

          Snowboarding is demanding for legs, expect to have decent inflammations after a long ride. Furthermore, your joints and lungs will have a proper test as well; snowy slopes have less thick air, which will train your lungs. To start snowboarding, you’ll need a proper board and some protective clothes.

          5. Skateboarding

          skateboarding

            Skateboarding is not just an extreme sport. Skateboard is a lifestyle, a culture. If you are not afraid of getting few bruises now and then, this sport is definitely for you. Not only that this extreme sport is fun, but also it will improve the coordination between your arms, eyes, legs, and feet significantly. Another great thing that you will learn riding a skateboard is how to avoid falling in general, and extraordinary balance. And the thrill of a successful trick or a jump is simply incredible.

            Before you go outside to practice, try to get yourself a proper protective equipment. By being a skateboarder, you’ll get tougher, leaner, and agiler, with the accent on toughness. Skateboarding is like that, if you fail on a trick, you’ll get hurt. Here’s a helpful resource for buying your first skateboard.

            6. Mountain Biking

            One of the most popular ways to spend time in the wild, mountain biking, provides a bunch of health benefits. It builds up your cardiovascular system and leg muscles a lot while strengthening the core and arms as well. Mountain biking is not only excellent and great extreme sport, but it can help you to improve your quadriceps, gluteal and calf muscles and also, it will strengthen your tendons, without any weight bearing.

            extreme sports demystified - mountain biking

              Getting yourself a mountain bike can be a pretty hard thing to manage, especially when you don’t know which type of bike you’ll need, and there are a lot of types of mountain bikes. Get educated and know what type of riding you’ll be concentrated on. We recommend cross-country if you’re a beginner.

              7. Surfing

              Surfing is one of the coolest extreme sports that you can find outside. Ask any surfer, and you’ll see: riding the waves is the one and only, most important thing in the world. Not only it is as exciting extreme sport as possible, surfing provides many health benefits as well. Surfing is awesome cardiovascular exercise that will keep your heart pumping. It will develop your balance, your whole body strength, and dexterity.

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              extreme sports demystified - surfing

                Since a large part of surfing involves moving through the water (after you are done with riding the wave), you will get an excellent core and upper body workout. Not only it will make you physically stronger, but it is proven fact that if you are practicing surfing, you release a lot of endorphins which improves your mood and makes you feel better. Before you start riding waves, you should check the surfing accessories and guides in order to learn more about the waves and what you need to do when you see a wave coming towards you.

                8. Rafting

                Nowadays, rafting is becoming more and more popular as an extreme sport. Wherever you can find fast rivers, you will probably see some rafters too. Rafting is one of the most remarkable adventurous ways to explore the nature and have an adrenaline rush while doing it. Going down on a wild river, you will face a lot of challenges on water while trying to conquer the wild stream.

                Rafting

                  Rafting is not only good if you are looking for the adrenaline rush, but it will also help you clear your mind and strengthen your whole body. Also, a great thing that comes with rafting, believe it or not, it will help you to lower down your level of stress. Rafting is amazing for working groups and teambuilding. Check out the necessary gear before you go book a rafting tour with your friends.

                  9. Paragliding

                  For the final two extreme sports, we hit the air, as the most extreme area. With paragliding, you will not only go for the adrenaline rush and conquer the fear of the heights but also, it provides you with the plenty of health benefits, both physically and mentally. When it gets to the physical health improvement, it will improve your mobility and flexibility. By navigating with your paraglider through the air, your upper muscles will become much stronger.

                  Paragliding

                    For mental enhancements, well, you know the feeling that you get after you have accomplished something big? Well, try to imagine that feeling times 10, that is how you will feel after a good paragliding session. It will help you to gain a life-changing confidence boost, and it will motivate you to try out new extreme and amazing sports. Before you go for a beautiful ride up in the skies, we would advise you to read about the best and safest equipment for paragliding.

                    10. Sky Diving

                    For the last sport on our list, we’re going all-in. Skydiving is an adrenaline junke’s perfect sport. With skydiving, you will forget about your worries and no matter how scary it looks, once you jump off the plane it’s all about the thrill. Skydiving releases you from the stress, which is a good health benefit but also helps you to conquer your fear of heights.

                    Skydiving

                      Skydiving itself involves free-falling from around 15,000 feet at a rate of 120ft/sec (for a minute), and once you pull a parachute out, it takes a peaceful gliding to the ground for the next five minutes. Skydiving is an amazing experience where you literally explore the new depths of yourself and find new and inspiring energy in your life. If you are new to skydiving, it would be smart checking out a guide to buying your first skydiving gear. Be prepared, and step up for the best ride of your life.

                      Being healthy and fit doesn’t have to involve boring gym life.

                      You can try some of the extreme sports on our list and see how will it affect your life. You can pick one sport or all of them.

                      It’s all up to you.

                      More by this author

                      Dejan Kvrgic

                      Blogger, Writer

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                      Last Updated on November 15, 2019

                      Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                      Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                      Wouldn’t you like to be able to eat twice as much as you do now without gaining weight? If so, I have good news for you because this is possible when you learn how to increase metabolism.

                      How Much Do You Know About Metabolism?

                      Before we get to the meat, let me say that metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body.[1] These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning, however, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with the metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn.

                      The metabolic rate is a rough estimate of how much energy your body needs to simply stay alive and perform all its biochemical reactions. These reactions require energy, aka burn calories.

                      Imagine that your brain alone consumes nearly 20% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure at rest),[2] your digestion and the detoxifying system come second, repairing tissues third and so on.

                      Staying alive is expensive for your body and its two main currencies are fats and sugars.

                      When I am talking about improving your metabolic rate (metabolism), I mean improving the amount of energy, your body requires to (pretty much) lay down in bed and do nothing for 24 hours.

                      Extra physical activity, extra thinking or fighting illness are things that require a lot of energy (burn a lot of calories) but they don’t really increase metabolism… actually they can decrease it.

                      Can You Naturally Change the Speed of Your Basal Metabolism?

                      The answer to this question is yes and you can also achieve an increase in metabolism and a drop in body fat by eating more.

                      Shocked? Well, I was too.

                      The way I came across this phenomenon is quite funny. Over my 10 years as a coach, I helped many busy professionals to naturally increase their metabolism by getting them leaner, fitter and stronger but, at the beginning of my career, I actually had no idea whether they were losing weight because of an increase in metabolism or because we created a calorie deficit with diet and exercise.

                      When I was training my clients regularly, they would lose weight. Every time I would take a few weeks of vacation, I would come back to London and find out that most of them gained back a generous amount of weight despite the fact that they were following their diet and they swapped our weight training sessions with cardio.

                      On the contrary, when they were going on vacation, they would do zero exercises and binge like there was no tomorrow but come back either lighter or weighing the same (but looking more muscular).

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                      Observing this phenomenon happening over and over again, got me curious about the mechanics of our metabolism and the ways to hack it.

                      Was it really possible that by relaxing and eating more food, someone could actually maintain his/her current weight or even be losing fat?

                      Driven by the desire to answer this question, I spent a good amount of years researching and testing different food strategies until I finally cracked the code to an improved metabolism that allows you to eat like a king and look like a Greek God.

                      Does Eating More Increase Metabolism?

                      Before I explain why eating more increases your metabolism, let me dig into something that I see people doing much more often: “eating less and moving more.”

                      It is quite common to see people embarking their yearly weight loss journey (usually after Christmas or Easter) by following very restrictive diets and bombarding their body with several hours of exercise per day.

                      Despite the short-term effectiveness of this approach, in the long run, if the goal is to increase metabolism and lose a lot of fat over an extended period of time, this simply won’t work.

                      As I have mentioned before, eating fewer calories and exercising more are energy-consuming activities for your body. In the first case, your body needs to use its own energy reserves to top up the missing energy it needs to fully function; and in the second, it takes your body extra energy to contract your muscles.

                      In both cases, your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure at rest) doesn’t vary much; therefore your metabolism stays unchanged.[3]

                      A different scenario happens when you eat less and move more for an extended period of time (weeks or months). In that case, your metabolism will slow down because your body is receiving a “we have little access to food and we need to run away from threats” signal.

                      Your metabolism is like your bank account.

                      To understand this concept, let’s imagine that you have $4,000 coming into your bank account each and every month. The money you spend on housing, transport, food and leisure are calibrated according to this monthly income.

                      Now, imagine that a rich uncle starts to send you $1,000 each day. What would you do? Probably, you would save that money for the first two or three days but, when you notice that $1,000 keep on coming every single day, you would likely start to spend more right?

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                      What if, instead of a rich uncle sending you money, a poor uncle needed your financial help to pay for the treatments of his illness? You would probably try your best to adjust your spending according to your old $4,000 monthly budget.

                      That’s exactly how your body reasons:

                      More Resources Coming in = More Energy Released (Improved Metabolism)

                      Fewer Resources Coming in = Less Energy Released (Decreased Metabolism)

                      Note that activities like weight training[4] and high-intensity interval training (HIIT),[5] when combined with an increase in nutrient-rich foods, will also improve your metabolism.

                      For this reason, today, when I coach a new client, I always start by increasing their daily food intake and their physical activities. Usually, people are quite confused because they come to me to lose weight and I tell them to eat more but, without fail, the next weekly weight-check shows a lower number.

                      Be aware that not all foods are equal and only certain foods have the power to increase metabolism to a noticeable extent.

                      Foods That Increase Metabolism

                      Doubling up on Snickers bars won’t improve your metabolism and you know that. What you may not know is that certain foods that are marked as “healthy” doesn’t help you with increasing your metabolism. They also make you gain weight.

                      Before giving you a list of foods to eat or avoid, let me explain a simple principle of human biochemistry.

                      Your body uses energy from three (or four) main sources:

                      • Sugars: whether you eat a Snickers bar or a banana, the carbohydrates contained in both get absorbed in the gut and become blood glucose (the basic form of sugar our body utilizes as a source of energy).[6]
                        When blood glucose is present in the bloodstream (elevated levels), the body always uses it as its primary source of energy. When blood glucose levels drop (this phenomenon happens when you’re using these sugars to fuel a physical activity or when your pancreas produced a spike of insulin and stores that glucose into fat and muscles), your body starts to release fatty acids into the bloodstream to use as a source of energy.
                      • Fatty acids: either from your own fat cells (adipocytes) or from whatever fat-containing foods you ate in the past 2-3 hours. Fatty acids are a slower and more consistent form of energy than sugars that your body can utilise.
                      • Amino acids: Amino acids are the broken-down form of proteins. Proteins cannot be used by the body as a source of energy, not even in their broken-down form. Your body can transform amino acids into glucose with a process called gluconeogenesis.[7] This is a very inefficient process where a decent amount of energy gets wasted (and that’s a good thing for us but I’ll get to that later).
                      • Ketones: when you don’t feed your body any source of carbs (or proteins in excess), your liver produces an alternative source of energy called Ketones. It can replace the need for glucose (most of it at least).[8]

                      Now that you know the four energy sources the body can use to fuel its metabolism, let’s get to the meat (quite literally).

                      To make this simple for you, I am going to divide foods into three categories:

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                      1. Red Flags – Avoid the red foods because they slow your metabolism. They are usually extremely low in micronutrients and high in antinutrients (agents that are highly toxic). They are highly processed or spike your insulin levels (therefore stopping your fat burning process).
                      2. Orange Foods – Limit your consumption of orange foods. The orange foods on the list are suboptimal choices but they don’t have a negative impact on your metabolism when consumed in moderation. In fact, they contain a decent amount of micronutrients and, if eaten in small amounts, they shouldn’t stop your fat burning process.
                      3. Green Foods – These are foods to consume most. Green foods will improve your metabolism and should be the main bulk of your diet.

                      Next, I’ll get into details exactly what foods to eat and avoid:

                      Sugars and Carbs

                      Sugars do not directly improve metabolism because they stop the process of fat utilisation. There is an exception to this rule though. When you eat a diet extremely low in carbohydrates and sugars for an extended period of time (two to six days onwards), introducing carbohydrates and sugars can actually improve metabolism quite a bit.

                      Unfortunately, for most of us that love eating bread, pasta, fruit and yoghurt, unless we were on a low-carb diet for the past few days, these foods are not an optimal choice.

                      Sugars like fructose (found in fruit or commercial sugar) actually decrease metabolism and should be limited. Heavily processed sugars and carbohydrates should be also limited. Here is the colour list of sugars and carbs that affect metabolism:

                      Red Flag Sugary Foods You Should Avoid:
                      • Dried fruit
                      • Commercial and packaged corn
                      • High fructose corn syrup
                      • All sorts of candies and lookalike
                      • Packaged fruit juices and purees
                      • Sugary dairy products like flavoured yoghurt, condensed milk etc
                      Orange Sugary Foods You Should Limit:
                      • Bread and flour-based products
                      • Milk and also vegan milk alternatives that are sweetened
                      • Most fruit (exceptions are in the green list below)
                      • Potatoes and potato starch products
                      • Oatmeals and other grains
                      Green Sugary and Carb-Containing Foods That Improve Metabolism
                      • All berries except strawberries
                      • Tubers like squash, carrots, parsnips etc
                      • Sweet potatoes
                      • White rice
                      • All green vegetables

                      Fats

                      Fatty acids and fats, in general, can improve or decrease metabolism depending on their composition.

                      Red Flag Fatty Foods You Should Avoid:
                      • Margarine and hydrogenated fat
                      • Lard
                      • Gmo oils
                      • Most vegetable oils from seeds and peanut oil
                      Orange Fatty Foods You Should Limit:
                      • Nuts
                      • Meat fat
                      • Nut oils (macadamia, almond, cashew etc..)
                      • Seeds
                      Green Fatty Foods You Should Eat Daily
                      • Extra virgin olive oil (non-heated)
                      • Avocado
                      • Coconut oil
                      • Butter (organic)
                      • Egg yolks (free-range)
                      • Bone marrow

                      The fatty foods in the green section tend to be very effective in increasing metabolism, especially in the absence of carbohydrates because they stimulate the production of ketones (I’ll talk about this later).

                      Bear in mind that 1 gram of fat has 2.5 times the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrates; therefore “eating more fats” to increase metabolism should be done very gradually to avoid weight gain.

                      Proteins

                      Eating food not only sends regulatory signals to your brain about abundance vs scarcity of resources, but it can also increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).[9] It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.

                      Protein causes the largest rise in TEF.[10] It increases your metabolic rate by 15-30%, compared to 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fats

                      Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating, in fact, a study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet.[11]

                      Also, proteins help preserve muscle mass.[12] The more muscle mass we have, the higher our basal metabolism is.

                      For these reasons, the first nutritional advice I usually give to clients is to reduce sugars and increase proteins. This quick swap is often enough to kickstart their metabolism and commence the fat burning process.

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                      Red Protein Sources That Should Be Avoided
                      • Cheap whey proteins
                      • Soy proteins
                      • GMO meat
                      • GMO eggs
                      • Packaged meat
                      Orange Protein Source to Be Limited
                      • Canned tuna
                      • Canned fish
                      • Canned meat
                      • Gluten-rich products like Seitan
                      • Farmed fish
                      Green Protein Sources to Have Daily
                      • Free-range meat
                      • Free-range eggs
                      • Wild meat and fish
                      • Whey protein isolate
                      • Collagen and beef protein hydrolyzed

                      Note that this is a general categorisation of the foods that, when added to your diet, have the power to increase or decrease metabolism. There are some specific foods and supplements worth mentioning because they have been proven to improve metabolism by increasing thyroid output or resting heart rate, they are as follows.

                      Other Foods and Supplements

                      Cold water

                      Drinking water may temporarily speed up your metabolism. Studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 litres) of water increases resting metabolism by 10-30% for about an hour.[13]

                      This is not a surprise since our body is made up mainly by water and proper hydration is key to a fast metabolism. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature.

                      MCT Oils or Powders

                      Medium-chain triglycerides or MCT have been shown to improve metabolism by stimulating Ketone production.[14] Coconut oil contains MCT fats and, when used as a replacement for cooking oil can help you improve metabolism.

                      You can buy the concentrated version of MCT oils and eat it separately to further enhance this effect. Either way, coconut oil or pure MCT oil can be a great addition to your diet if you’re following a ketogenic or intermittent fasting protocol.

                      Caffeine

                      Caffeine and coffee have been shown to improve metabolism by improving heart rate and, therefore improving calorie consumption.[15]

                      Green Tea

                      Green tea

                      is thought to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and to reduce fat production and absorption.[16]

                      Bottom Line

                      In this article, I just covered the basics of food and metabolism but, there are many other non-food related things you can do to improve your metabolism, like improving your sleep quality and following certain exercise routines.

                      For now, just know that making small and gradual changes to your diet can increase your metabolism and improve your general health. Starting from changing one habit at a time is always the best strategy to accomplish any goal.

                      Once you improve your diet, your hydration and your supplementation you can think about testing more advanced “bio-hacks” or techniques like ice baths and fasted HIIT training.

                      And remember, having a higher metabolism doesn’t only help you lose weight and keep it off but it also give you more energy and a feeling of vibrancy. If you give it time, it really is worth the investment.

                      Featured photo credit: Fitsum Admasu via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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