Adrenaline Junkie and Extreme Sports

TV adrenaline junkie shows have been on the rise recently with Jack Osbourne’s ITV show taking prominence over all others and the recent Channel 4 documentary ‘The Men Who Jump off Buildings’, pulling in thousands of viewers. The latter looks at the most dangerous of all adrenaline sports, base jumping. Base jumping if you have not heard of it, is jumping off buildings with a parachute, not condoned or recommended that you try it, I would opt for something a little less life threatening as you could easily plummet to your death with base jumping.

So if you are an adrenaline junkie why not try bungee jumping, skydiving or white water rafting to fulfil your adrenaline cravings, obviously all dangerous but not as life threatening as base jumping and all can be enjoyed in the safe hands of experienced professionals. Ever had dreams of free falling, feeling the rush as gravity pulls you towards the ground? Why not experience it all with the knowledge that the bungee will propel you back in the opposite direction and bring you eventually safely back to ground.

Or maybe you fancy heading down a wild river on a dingy. Be assured that the inflatable raft isn’t as fragile as it sounds and you will have an experienced instructor that will help guide the team down through the rushing waters and powerful currents. Before you set off through the rapids you will be professionally informed on safety and instructed on all aspects of rafting. Then you head off on a swirling experience that will leave wet and breathless.

Paintballing is a favourite of mine; maybe not the most exhilarating of these extreme sports but still it gets the pulse going. Although with paintball prices being quite extortionate at times visits to these venues limit themselves. If you have ever been it is a fantastic day out for you and all your friends. You can really get absorbed in the experience and imagine yourself as Rambo or a soldier in battle running through the wilderness, ducking and diving, hiding under fallen trees and in bushes picking off your opponents one by one as you try to complete your mission.

You get so involved in the occasion that you start planning in your head what you will do next. Imagining yourself in the real life situation of battle and every decision you make is vital to the glory of your team by defeating the enemy. Nerves and panic consume you as your team members get picked off one by one and you are their last hope. Gun in hand you charge screaming towards the enemy lines, firing ammunition, round after round, picking off soldier after soldier until you stand triumphant, beads of sweat forming on your face as you raise your weapon aloft and scream victoriously to the rapturous applause of your fallen allies.

The Makings of an Adrenaline Junkie

Adrenaline Junkies not only flood the scene of Extreme Sports – nowadays, they are everywhere. But what exactly happens in the minds and bodies of these “excitement fiends,” that is so incredibly addictive? What is at the root cause of the ultimate, “natural high?” Let’s find out.

To find out how an adrenaline rush occurs in the body, we need to examine its source- the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are two squishy-looking bundles perched comfortably on the kidneys, like little yellow beanies. But don’t be fooled by their seemingly, “chilled-out,” appearance. These glands are hypersensitive to the perception of sudden fear or excitement and form an important part of the body’s Sympathetic Nervous System, which controls the body’s fight-flight response mechanism.

Very simply, when the brain’s alarm system goes off and flashes red lights to the rest of the organs in the body to warn of imminent danger, the adrenal glands produce a hormone called, Adrenaline; also known as Epinephrine. Picture this: Adrenaline is the little messenger guy who runs from the castle of one organ to the next with the scroll that says, “Prepare for battle!” And that’s exactly what happens. The heart starts pumping at high-speed and dilates the blood vessels, the eye muscles contract, causing the pupils to dilate, while the lungs dilate the air passages in the body. This exhilarating chain-reaction is triggered by a sudden burst of energy caused by one potent neurotransmitter: Adrenaline.

You may be wondering how this manifests in the body. Here’s how: When experiencing an adrenaline rush, a human being’s reflexes operate at their most optimum level, causing what I like to call, “The Batman Effect,” the feeling of invincibility that comes with a heightened sense of awareness and an extreme boost in concentration. This intense reaction is coupled with a dramatic increase in physical performance, brought on by rapid blood flow to the muscles and a sudden boost of oxygen to the lungs.

The term, “adrenaline junkie,” that became popular after its use in the 1991 movie, “Point Break,” describes someone who enjoys dangerous activities, such as Extreme Sports. What is great about Extreme Sports is that the rush of adrenaline is coupled with an increased release of endorphins, which are the body’s, “happy hormones.”

Considering all of this, it is not difficult to understand why the emergence of Extreme Sports appears to be so monumental. Why not? After all, with the popularity of health and wellness in twentieth century lifestyle, Extreme Sports are a way to achieve an ultimate and completely natural, “high.”

Want an extreme adrenaline rush without going the Extreme Sports route? Simply jump into the yard of your neighbour with the Rottweilers and watch as you magically transform into an Olympic free runner in less than five seconds. But please, don’t say you heard this from me.