Extreme Sports: The Brain Enables Adventure

There is no better way to truly feel alive than performing an extreme activity. While most of us wouldn’t begin to even consider cheating death in the name of sport, there is no arguing that we are all greatly impressed, and genuinely frightened for those who do.

The brain has many responses and subtle tendencies during extreme sport participation. Many of which explain how, and why, certain people can thrive during extreme sports. (No, they aren’t just crazy, either!)

  1. The fear is real

The patented ‘oh crap’ reaction is a natural response to extreme situations. Many people who thrive off of extreme sports live for this feeling. The fear is real, and is present for each of these daredevils, regardless of how fearless they may claim to be.

  1. The feeling of immortality

When you don’t die, you feel pretty good about yourself, right? Well, our brain enables the same type of response. Cheating death really makes you feel alive. By successfully performing an extreme act, the brain has a unique way of pointing that person to go for it again.

  1. Adrenaline Release

Oh what a beautiful drug! Adrenaline is what extreme sports are all about. This sweet sensation is a feeling of bliss and, to a point, almost a spiritual event. Adrenaline has addictive benefits. The brain releases this substance to allow you to perform in dangerous situations. There’s a lot more to it than that, but we will save the scientific lingo!

  1. Makes your heart pound

The brains immediate response to any of the stimuli that we have talked about is to increase the heart-rate. Biologically, this response is made to allow oxygen to flow freely in the blood.

  1. Survival mentality

Extreme sport participants know that they must execute their job perfectly to avoid injury, or even death. The survivor instinct allow for sharp focus, and happens at the onset of the event.

  1. Bye-bye to distractions

Stress, worry, love, anger, most any cognitive distraction that you could imagine, say goodbye! The brain eliminates these ‘distractions’ during extreme sports. Actually sounds pretty nice, right?

  1. Dopamine release

Don’t worry, it’s not what it sounds like. Dopamine is a substance that is release by the brain during extreme moments. It is known as the ‘feel good’ drug of the body. This is attained upon successful completion of the sport.

  1. The Zen state

Many daredevils have referred to their mental state while performing as a ‘Zen-like feeling’. This is a combination of focus, adrenaline, and a stress-free thought process. The Zen state is something that must be felt to understand.

Extreme sports are one of the most exciting ways to truly feel alive. I guess the negative behind that is, well, you could die. That is the point though, right? Cheating death to feel alive? Achieving a stress-free, Zen-like state? It may be a risk, but many find these rewards to be well worth it.