If you take part in extreme sports of any type, you have probably been asked this question countless times. To those looking in from the outside, jumping off a cliff or snowboarding down an impossibly steep slope would be the last thing they would ever want to do. However, every year, thousands of people take part in various extreme sports events that are staged all over the globe. So, what is it about these amazing yet dangerous sports that have so much appeal?
What is The Motivation?
Competing in an extreme sports competition is not just turning up on the day and taking part. It takes months, if not years, of training and experience to ensure athletes are at their physical peak. However, this intensity of training and competing takes a huge amount of motivation, arguably, a higher level of motivation than competitive athletes who take part in non-extreme sporting events. Researchers think that they might have found the answer, and it comes down to what the goal is in each sport. As with any elite athlete, they are looking at the finish line, and they want to be in the small group of people that manage to complete any event the fastest. They will likely have all the top-quality gear needed to do their sport, and perhaps even a wearable fitness tracker to help them see their times, progress, etc, to keep them motivated to keep beating their own best efforts (this resource over on Mobile Mob is super-helpful if you are looking at one of these wearables yourself). For many, climbing to the top of a 30,000 feet mountain, or completing a demanding triathlon is all about being in the small percentage of people who have achieved their goal. The other reason that elite and extreme athletes take part in these sports is to earn a level of respect from others. It gives them a sense of identity and purpose, which is extremely important to all of us, not just athletes.
Getting the Adrenaline Pumping
The same way that some people enjoy being scared of movies or love riding the most thrilling rollercoaster, extreme sports athletes are looking for an adrenaline rush. Of course, taking part in extreme sports is far more of a rush than riding a rollercoaster, but the same principle applies. Not everyone loves to feel that intense rush of adrenaline, but extreme sports athletes are always looking for the next big jump or wave so they can experience that rush. It also works in part with the motivation factor; if they are motivated to work and train harder, then they can get a bigger effect and a bigger adrenaline rush. It also has to do with the idea that they are putting their lives on the line. With a scary movie, although your mind thinks you’re in danger, you aren’t. However, when an extreme athlete stands on the edge of a cliff, there is a real danger that their lives are at risk. There is no bigger rush than that for them.
Pushing Further and Further
If the thrill is to get to the top of the mountain or ski down that slope, then why do they keep going back for more? What is the motivation to keep going further and higher? The answer is thought to be the need for the next rush. If you do the same activity over and over again, no matter how dangerous, eventually the thrill you had at the beginning will diminish. However, if you keep trying to push for more, then you will get another intoxicating rush of adrenaline next time. By definition, those people who like taking part in extreme sports are those that love to take risks. However, the usual type of risk that most people would consider is far from the level extreme sports athletes need. It is in tandem with the adrenaline rush, which is why it must have a real element of danger to make it worthwhile.
Why Do People Love Watching Extreme Sports?
The world of extreme sports has captured the public imagination, with a variety of channels now devoted to all types of extreme sport. However, what is it which makes watching athletes competing in dangerous sports so appealing? There have been studies about the reasons behind its popularity, and it suggests people are intrigued to watch in case something happens to the athletes. There are those who are watching because they appreciate the work and training the athlete has put into their sport. They are the ones who tune into sites like Ultimate Capper, and there are those that love to watch highly trained athletes competing for the biggest prizes, but, the majority are drawn into watching as they love the thrill. Although extreme sports are designed to have a risk factor involved, there are still safety measures in place at official events. However, as with any event, the risk cannot be totally neutralized and is far higher than other sports. There is another appeal of watching extreme sports. Some audience members watch because they wish they could do the same thing. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be waking up the next morning to start training, but it gives them the next best feeling after being there.
What Are the Most Extreme Sports?
For those who watch from the outside, you might think that they are all just as extreme, but there are those sports which are considered more dangerous than others. One such example is creeking. This sport involves riding kayaks off waterfalls into the churning water below. The thrill comes not only from the fall but the risk of hitting rocks at the bottom. The most dangerous recreational sport in the world is base jumping, with one death occurring for every 2,317 jumps. The sport involves jumpers throwing themselves off the base structure which can include a cliff, building or bridge. The risk involved includes less time to open your parachute and the fear that it doesn’t open at all.
There is no doubt that the world of extreme sports is getting bigger, with more sports getting their own extreme versions. In the future, perhaps these sports will be surpassed by even more extreme versions as the need for the next thrill continues. In the meantime, athletes will continue to push the limits.