The Allure of Extreme Sports Part 2: The Emotional Side of Adrenaline, By: Aziza Kendrick

After her first time standing up on a surfboard, Aziza Kendrick reported that she felt invincible, even though it was only for a few seconds. This is an example of the emotional effect of adrenaline, which entices extreme athletes to come back for more.

When participating in an extreme activity such as mountain biking, the body is put under stress, and there is a measurable physical response. The adrenal gland releases a number of hormones including epinephrine, otherwise known as adrenaline. This hormone causes the heart rate to speed up, increases blood flow to the brain and muscles, and facilitates energy creation in the liver, which converts glycogen to glucose. The emotion that results from this physical response is a heightened sense of being alive.

With this feeling comes an elevated awareness of surroundings and a singular focus on the task at hand. Rock climbers report that when they are climbing a difficult route, all other mental distractions melt away and the only thing present in their mind is the moves right before them. Extreme athletes love the feel of this rush, and can even become addicted to it, which keeps them pushing the boundaries of their sport.

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