When you think of extreme sports, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Was it adrenaline junkie, or DANGER!? While many extreme sports do give the athlete a thrill, and some have an element of danger, they don’t have to be scary, or just for the physically elite. Extreme sports, or adventure sports, can have many benefits when it comes to your health, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and physical abilities.
The Health Benefits of Adventure Sports
Adventure sports can get you out of the gym and freshen up your fitness routine. Some of the health benefits include: stress relief, weight loss, cardiovascular health and total body muscular fitness. They encourage an all-around healthy lifestyle and the confidence that comes with all of these things. So get off the treadmill, ditch the stair climber, skip spin class and Zumba, and try one of these this summer instead.
Canoeing and Kayaking
Canoes and kayaks can both be rented near bodies of water where the sport is popular, and gives you the opportunity to experience the outdoors in a new way, while getting your exercise in, too.
According to Better Health Channel, a quality health and medical information resource, “Canoeing and kayaking are low impact activities that can improve your aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility. Specific health benefits include:
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- Increased muscle strength, particularly in the back, arms, shoulders and chest, from moving the paddle
- Increased torso and leg strength, as the strength to power a canoe or kayak comes mainly from rotating the torso and applying pressure with your legs
- Reduced risk of wear-and-tear on joints and tissues, since paddling is a low impact activity
Some other good reasons to paddle include:
- Kayaking and canoeing can be peaceful and meditative or can be exhilarating, depending on where and how you do it
- Paddling is a great way to enjoy our waterways
Taekwando is a martial art that can be practiced indoors or outdoors, and can be enjoyed by both children and adults. It will make you stronger inside and out. According to Brisbane Martial Arts, a leading expert in the art of Taekwondo, there are many benefits of Taekwondo including:
- Physical and mental strength and endurance
- Improved balance
- Increased flexibility
- Better capacity for handling stress and anxiety
- Practical and effective self-defense
- Self-belief and personal confidence
Mountain Biking or Cycling
Mountain biking is a great cardiovascular workout. Of course you’ll get a nice leg workout as well. If you are traveling, cycling is an enjoyable and economic way to see the area. You can rent a bike, see more, and cover more ground in a day than you could in several days of walking. Mountain biking offers the ability to vary your adventure based on skill level. Many popular trails will have a rating, you can start flat and easy, then move your way up to technical and steep.
If you like walking or jogging, give hiking a try for a change. Like mountain biking, you can adjust the routes and trails you take, based on your ability level. Experience new sites and elevation changes, with short climbs and descents, working your muscles in a way that you’re not able to by walking or jogging. As an added health bonus, research shows that spending time outdoors increases attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent.
So, whether you’re traveling or staying in familiar territory this summer, ditch the traditional gym workouts, and give some of these summer adventure sports a try. Get out, try a new hobby, experience nature, enjoy the adrenaline, and test your body in a new way. And when you are through, you can call yourself an adventure sports athlete, danger not required!