sports cure stress for some
By Justin Dunkley
December 23, 2004 | In
today's society stress is becoming a major part of people's
lives everywhere. Whether it be at work, in school,
or at home, stress is something that must be dealt with.
Many people question how this is done and resort to
drugs that help them cope with this issue. Is there
a better way? Many suggest there is.
Participating in an extreme sport is an excellent way
to reduce high levels of stress. What is an extreme
sport and how will participating in one reduce stress?
Extreme sports are comprised of dangerous sports that
offer adrenaline rushes to the participant. It is in
this definition that we find the cure for stress. Adrenaline.
The human body has two adrenal glands, one on top of
each kidney. These glands form part of the endocrine
system, which works in conjunction with the nervous
system and the immune system to help the body cope with
different events and stresses. As exercise intensity
increases, neural messages are sent to the adrenal glands
located on top of the kidneys which in response secrete
adrenaline into the bloodstream.
Bryan Miller, a surfer from Logan, has lived in California
for the past two years. Here he has been involved with
a high stress job in sales that requires strenuous effort
day in and day out. When Miller first started this job
he had no idea the level of stress it would bring into
his carefree life.
Miller says, "At first I thought I could cope with
the growing stress by drinking alcohol. I soon found
out that this made the situation much worse. I felt
trapped and didn't know how to cope with it anymore.
I either had to quit and find a new job or find something
else to help me deal with the growing stress. I remember
talking to a friend who reccomended surfing so I thought
I would give it a try. After the first morning I came
to a realization that surfing was the answer. I would
soon find myself craving at every opportunity to surf.
I started waking up at 6:00 a.m. every morning to surf
until I absolutely had leave for work. It was a miracle
to see how much difference this made in my life. No
matter how difficult the day at work was I knew that
I had something so much better to look forward to."
When asked what was it that made him crave surfing,
Miller said, "Everything about it. It is such an
intense sport that makes me feel alive. I get a lot
of excercise out of it as well as a huge rush everytime
I go." Surfing
Rock climbing is another extreme sport that has helped
many people deal with the high stress of everyday life.
It is well known for being a very intense sport that
requires every ounce of physical stregnth and more importantly
mental stregnth to be successful.
Jared Peterson, also a local of Cache Valley like Miller,
has found a sport that has helped him cope with the
pressures of everyday life. "I am a very high stress
person in general so I am always looking for ways to
combat the stress." Peterson has tried coping with
stress in many different ways including alcohol and
drugs. This too made things much worse for Peterson.
"Sure it was fun at the time and made me forget
all about the stress in my life but when I would wake
up the next morning things would be ten times worse.
I was going downhill fast and needed to change. I eventually
lost my job and was in debt up to my neck." Peterson
said that he desperately needed to find an outlet in
his life to help cope with stress and make him a better
person at the same time. When Peterson overheard a couple
guys talking about the intense rush they just had while
sending a very difficult climb and how much fun it was
he had to see for himself. "I immediately went
to the nearest outdoor sporting goods store to find
out more. Within a week I was climbing everyday.
"I can't explain to you the feeling of accomplishment
after sending a difficult climb. It requires every ounce
of energy in me not to mention the adrenaline rush I
get each time I climb. I have currently found a new
job and when I have problems or stress there I know
I can take out all of this frustration on the rock.
I have become a better person with daily goals and have
certainly found an equilizer to the stress of in my
Recently, under the health section of Yahoo's website,
Psychology Today posted an article about the
need for play and excercise in adult's lives. "For
years, therapists have urged adults to get in touch
with their inner child. Now some are taking the suggestion
literally. From the growing popularity of 'extreme'
sports and wilderness excursions to obsessions with
kiddie-toy collectibles, adults these days are ready
to have fun. Playing allows us to completely lose ourselves
in the moment. A productive distraction from worries
about spreading waistlines and mounting bills, true
play gives us the opportunity to put aside our egos
and focus on pleasure rather than duty. Play does offers
some very adult advantages, she adds: people who preserve
their sense of fun are better equipped to solve problems,
think creatively and manage stress." Healthy
It is evident that participating in an extreme sport
is an excellent way to reduce high levels of stress
while making life in general a lot easier.