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9 Great Benefits of Extreme Sports

9 Great Benefits of Extreme Sports

Extreme sports are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, activities such as mountain biking, snowboarding and skateboarding continue to attract larger numbers every year. At the same time, a decline has been noted in other outside activities that are considered to be more traditional, including basketball. This is most likely linked to several factors, ranging from the increased adrenaline rush all the way to the positive mental and physical health aspects of participating in an extreme sport.

1. Gain the Ability to Stay Centered

Extreme sports can push you to your physical and mental limits. When this happens, it’s easy to lose your cool, but that can lead to potentially dangerous mistakes. Individuals who regularly perform feats such as jumping out of an airplane actually change the chemical makeup of their mind. When this happens, you become more capable of staying calm and centered during stressful situations. In other words, extreme sports can make the rest of your life easy to manage.

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2. Learn the Importance of Stretching

As with every other form of physical exercise, it is imperative to utilize proper stretching techniques to keep your muscles in good shape. Stretches do vary based on the type of exercise that you’re doing, which makes it wise to take a close look at the techniques that are used by the pros. For example, fitness and stretching routines of pro surfers incorporate dynamic stretches and place an emphasis on relaxing the upper body and tight muscles. Doing these stretches on a regular basis makes it easier to surf without suffering from an injury.

3. Enhance Your Fear Management Skills

Do you find yourself becoming practically debilitated by fear? This is something that everyone struggles with from time to time, but those who participate in extreme sports are able to turn their fear into a positive experience. There probably aren’t too many people in the world who won’t feel fearful the first time they jump out of an airplane or go bungee jumping. But doing these things and seeing that you safely make it to the other side will help you reduce your fear response. You will also learn how to use coping mechanisms such as meditation to your advantage.

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4. Work Different Muscles

We all do certain movements during the day, and this gives the applicable muscles a workout. However, you’ve probably noticed feeling sore after doing something that isn’t on your typical daily schedule. This is because you are working out a different set of muscles or have asked your muscles to move in an unusual way. Although this can cause soreness, it can also be good for your overall physical fitness. When you embrace an extreme sport, you will begin working different muscles, and this will be a positive thing for your health.

5. Gain a Sense of Humility

Getting ahead in the business world, and life, in general, may seem like a ruthless proposition. The truth, though, is that having a sense of humility is actually extremely important. This makes us feel more relatable to others, and it can help avoid the development of a negative reputation. With extreme sports, you have to embrace the fact that you are not perfect or immortal. Instead, to survive the experience, you must look at your own mortality, learn how to use safety equipment properly and be willing to listen to your instructor’s directions. This was all linked to increased humility in a 2009 study.

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6. Boost Your Self-Confidence

Extreme sports task you with overcoming difficult physical challenges. After all, it’s not easy to climb a mountain. But if you can complete these challenges, your rewards will be much more than merely physical. Studies have found a strong link between extreme sports and a higher level of self-confidence. This makes sense when you consider the fact that accomplishing a task so physically daunting is something that you should feel proud of. The self-confidence boost can have a positive impact on every aspect of your life, which makes extreme sports a good idea for everyone who is physically capable of meeting the applicable challenges.

7. High Caloric Burn

If you want to get in the best possible physical shape, extreme sports are often the wisest choice. As an added bonus, they can also be a lot more fun than a standard exercise routine. Skateboarding offers a prime example because the average person burns as much as 500 calories per hour while riding their board. Of course, you will get the best results if you work on complicated surfaces and do skateboarding tricks during this time period instead of merely riding on flat land.

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8. Increased Balance

Even individuals who have a good sense of balance can benefit from improving it, and this is exactly what most extreme sports will help you do. Keep in mind that if you are naturally clumsy or have any medical conditions that inhibit your sense of balance, it may not be wise to start with one of the more dangerous extreme sports. However, something as simple as riding a skateboard on flat land will force your body to become more balanced. Otherwise, you will remain wobbly the entire time and may have several accidents. This process will be similar to learning to ride a bike in that you may fall off a few times, but your body should eventually adjust to the new balance requirements.

9. Offers Social Interaction

Humans are social creatures by nature. Even those of us who are introverted still need some level of socialization to remain well-adjusted emotionally. Studies have even discovered that socialization is critical for cognitive functionality. This is another area where extreme sports receive high marks because most of these activities are done with other people. For example, you’re more likely to go skateboarding or jump out of a plane with a friend. This will help increase the bond between the two of you, and it will also give you the many benefits of socialization.

Before you begin any extreme sport, make sure that you are physically and mentally capable of performing the necessary tasks. Once you are ready to begin, you will be able to choose from a long list of adventurous sports that are certain to get your adrenaline flowing!

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Holly Chavez

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Published on February 14, 2019

15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

Starting such a journey is never easy and you must remember this is not a crash diet, it is a lifestyle. Don’t panic and think you have to do it all at once as this will most likely overwhelm you. You may also find yourself giving up because crash diet are not sustainable.

The best approach is to make simple changes to your daily habits and over time, you will notice all your bad habits have turned into good habits.

Accordingly to a study by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behaviour becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.[1] And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.

Here are 15 fitness goals to help you on your journey:

1. Drink More Water

W.H.Auden said it best when he said ‘Thousands Have Lived Without Love, Not One Without Water’. With any diet, the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Drinking water will support your body with digestion, transporting nutrition to your body and even help improve cognitive function.

Ideally, you want to drink about half your body weight in ounces per day i.e. if you weight 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water a day.

Hopefully, by following this rule, you will be able to maintain a consistent consumption of water per day.

2. Add Some Lemon & Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Water

It is recommended we sleep for about 8 hours a day, this means we spend about 8 hours per day dehydrated. Therefore, hydrating your body first thing in the morning is absolutely necessary.

The best way to achieve hydration is by starting your day with a glass or even two of water. For that extra boost, add lemon juice and ½ teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. The lemon and apple cider vinegar will help your body with detoxifying, cleansing and digestion

3. Stop Drinking Your Calories

Yes, keeping hydrated is important but try to avoid high calorie drinks such as soft drinks, speciality coffee and juices as they are full of fast acting sugar.

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Really push yourself to stop drinking such drinks and before you know it, you will notice the benefits.

4. Start Stretching More Often

Always remember to stretch! The benefits are vast and the repercussions of failing to stretch can be dramatic.

Do yourself a favour and always stretch before and after a workout. This will promote a healthy cool down, improve flexibility and reduce next day aches. Failure to stretch can lead to injures and muscle damage.

So, the next time you work out, don’t forget you dedicate a few minutes to stretching before and after your workout. You will thank me for it later!

Here’re some simple stretching exercises you can start trying:

15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

5. Add in Some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

You may have heard about HIIT training because it is the big thing right now and believe me when I say ‘It works!’.

The benefits include lower body fat, increased stamina, leaner muscles and fantastic hormonal benefits.

HIIT is where you perform an intense exercise, for a very short time frame (about 30 seconds) followed by a slower exercise for about 90 seconds.

Performing a HIIT routine for 1-3 times a week will lead to great results.

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6. Focus on Your Breathing When You Work Out

For the most part, breathing is second nature to most of us. But when exercising, you may find yourself holding your breath and this is not good.

It is important to consciously take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, this will fill your lungs with oxygen.

7. Build More Lean Muscle

We all want to have lean muscles because not only does it look good, it has great health benefits:

  • Improved posture
  • Reduced body fat
  • Improved metabolism
  • Strong bones
  • Protects and improves joint health
  • Improves stamina

Learn more about building muscle in this guide:

How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

8. Decrease Body Fat

This may seem like an obvious one but it is one of the most important steps to a healthier you. Reducing your body fat has a lot of benefits such as:

  • Improved joints and tendons
  • Lowered risk of diabetes
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Better performance and endurance
  • Improved appearance and confidence
  • Better hormonal profiles in your body

Remember, it is not a race to see how quickly you can decrease your body fat, a healthy weight loss is around 1-2 pounds a week.[2]

Crash dieting or pushing yourself too much in the gym can lead to you achieving an unrealistic target, and you may find yourself gaining all the weight you have lost.

Think of it as a lifestyle and take it slow and steady.

9. Eat More Greens

What you eat is the most important factor in a healthier living plan. It is important to ensure you are getting as many nutrients and vitamins from the food you are eating as possible.

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Focus on dark, leafy greens as they will provide you with a wide array of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants – all of which you body needs!

Don’t forget to avoid processed and manufactured food. They are usually high in fat and have minimal vitamins.

10. Start Eliminating Sugar

Another top goal you can start immediately is reducing the amount of sugar you consume. It also won’t cost you anything, save you money and improve your health in the long run.

There’s no surprise we eat too much sugar and this should be one of your top goals moving forward (eliminating or drastically reducing sugar).

Cutting out liquid calories is a great way to start. If you’re looking for something sweet, turn to fruits or even dark chocolate.

11. Allow Yourself to Rest and Recovery

The workout is where you go to breakdown the muscle tissue and it builds back through proper nutrition, rest and recovery. It might be tempting to go to the gym for two hours every day as hard as you can to achieve your goals but that’s not the most effective approach.

If you don’t allow for proper rest and recovery, it can set you back a few steps. Your body is more prone to injury and even illness as you can weaken your immune system from all the progressive intensity the body is facing.

12. Get More Sleep

When you are deprived of sleep, you make it next to impossible to achieve your health and fitness goals. Lack of sleep can increase stress hormones in your body and over time these can lead to a lot of inflammation and chronic diseases.[3]

Make sleep a priority to let your body heal and rejuvenate. A good approach is 7 to 8 hours. Also, allow yourself some wind-down time and a pre-bed routine to help get more consistent sleep every night.

13. Focus on the Habit and Not the Result

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to achieve a certain look or shed time off of your mile, but the more important focus is on the habit that will bring you those goals.

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Don’t look at the scale, the tape measure, or the body fat percentage. Focus on the habits that will lead to those achievements.

Don’t compare yourself to where others are, you’re right where you need to be.

14. Take Your Fitness Outside

This may be hard depending on the weather you experience, but the more you can be outside exposed to fresh air and sunlight, the better.

Being stuck in the gym doing cardio while staring at a wall won’t do much for your mental stimulation.

Try to challenge your body more by getting outside. Hiking is great and also just running and walking. Give yourself more mental stimulation and a constantly changing environment. It also beats breathing in that recycled gym air.

15. Do at Least One Pull Up

This is a great last goal to focus on because it’s a great test of strength and to see how you are progressing with your fitness.

If you haven’t been able to do one, you know what a challenge it can be. Having the goal of doing at least one pull up will not only show you how far you’ve progressed but is a great way to become dedicated and motivated.

The Bottom Line

It will become more attainable through the year if you’re consistent with your fitness. Set yourself a concrete timeline as when you want to accomplish some or all of these goals. In fact, start making one of these goals happen this month!

This guide on achieving goals will be helpful for you:

How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully

Featured photo credit: ivan Torres via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Phillippa Lally: How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world
[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
[3] Unity Point: The Scary Truth About Sleep Deprivation and Chronic Diseases

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