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When you imagine stressful situations, you probably have a negative association with them. However, what if there were stressful situations that are supposed to be high-pressure and help you? For example, think about bungee jumping. The adrenaline rush benefits you get from this thrill are worthwhile.
What Is Adrenaline?
Adrenaline — or epinephrine — is your body’s fight-or-flight mechanism when reacting to stressful situations. Imagine it’s the middle of the night and an emergency phone call from a friend awakens you. You’re tired but feel a burst of energy to drive and help your friend. Your body is producing adrenaline because of the situation.
An adrenaline rush can be invigorating, but there are limitations. Your body can only handle so much hormone production over time before negatively affecting your body. For example, you can get high blood pressure if your body produces too much adrenaline, aldosterone or cortisol.
What Are the Benefits of an Adrenaline Rush?
This hormone production can have negatives, but studies have shown adrenaline rush benefits are excellent for your body and mind. These three examples demonstrate why thrill seekers get more out of life.
Motivation for Living
Living on the edge with a risk of death can be scary but exciting. Imagine you’re Michael, Dwight and Andy doing parkour but between tall buildings instead of desks inside the office. The adrenaline boosts your energy and can benefit your mental health.
A 2021 study examined wounded military veterans and how competitive motorsports affected their lives. The researchers found positive results with the subjects, concluding that adrenaline-producing activities increased their will to live and helped them embrace their body image.
When you imagine adrenaline rushes, you probably think of white-knuckle events like a tall roller coaster or jumping off a cliff into the river. However, there are ways to get an adrenaline rush while sitting perfectly still. Intense scenes in horror films set the stage for tasty popcorn and heart-pumping scenes. Remember the shower scene in “Psycho” or when the head starts spinning in “The Exorcist”?
You might not realize it, but you can get adrenaline rush benefits from scary movies. A 2022 study examined the psychological effects of subjects visiting a haunted house and compared them with people who said they enjoy horror films. The researchers found distinct benefits like immediate enjoyment and personal growth. You may associate movie nights with leisure, but watching “Halloween” or “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” can induce psychological advantages.
Thrill seekers don’t do daring events trying to get killed. They want the risk to scare their brain and have an out-of-body experience. When the activity ends, you feel accomplished with a new lease on life. You’ll have stories to tell your buddies, co-workers and children for a long time.
The accomplished feeling is accurate and you shouldn’t discount it. A 2020 study explored how physical activity in natural environments affected test subjects. The groups participated in surfing, kayaking, open-water swimming and other thrilling exercises. The researchers found elevated psychological fulfillment improved physical health and heightened respect for water.
How Can You Get an Adrenaline Rush?
If the benefits convinced you, you’re probably wondering how to get into the action. Luckily, there are opportunities nationwide to take advantage of adrenaline rush benefits. Try one of these six events and see if you can handle the thrill.
1. Rock Climbing
Some thrilling events require more effort than others. It doesn’t get much more challenging than outdoor rock climbing — not the indoor walls you’d see in entertainment centers. Outdoor climbing takes you to the great outdoors with little help. Also, the ground is hard rock that causes severe injuries if you land on it. Nature doesn’t have mattresses.
Doing this activity requires laser-sharp focus and tremendous strength with your hands and feet. You can use indoor climbing and strength training to prepare your body because you’ll need endurance. If you want to experience the thrill of the climb with some added safety precautions, via ferrata involves steel fixtures and wire bridges to prevent falls. Know the difficulty grading ahead of time and bring a guide along for your first trip.
2. Mountain Biking
Rock climbing is one way to get to the top of a mountain, but how will you get down? Another activity for thrill seekers is mountain biking. The rush here comes from the rough terrain and high speeds as you race down the slope. The land around you changes as you advance, so you don’t know what’s around the next corner unless you’ve taken the path before.
Mountain biking also creates the opportunity to see wildlife. Being in the woods means you risk running into bears, mountain lions and other predators. How fast can you escape if they try to attack you?
If you want to reach 10,000 feet or higher, try skydiving. You’ll feel free like Tom Petty when you jump from the plane. You’re at the top of the world, above the clouds and looking down at the mortal world.
Skydiving is a popular adrenaline-inducing event because anybody can do it as long as they’re 18 or older. Even older adults participate in keeping themselves young. Former president George H.W. Bush used to go skydiving every five years to celebrate his birthday.
Bobsleigh has been around for about 150 years. The Olympics instituted it as a sport for the 1924 Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France. Many people know bobsleigh because of the 1993 comedy “Cool Runnings,” featuring the Jamaican national team. If it looks easy to you, think again. It’s one of the most thrilling experiences that only lasts a few minutes.
If you have interested buddies, head to Utah or New York to try bobsledding. In a bobsleigh, you rely on gravity to power you through the course. The sport is extreme because you risk head injuries due to the vibrations and intense forces. Controlling the sled is crucial to your success.
The other activities on the list are fast-paced, so take this opportunity to slow it down but keep the extreme feeling at a high. The U.S. has numerous canyons, with some famous ones out West. These gorges provide an excellent opportunity to go canyoning.
Canyoning — or canyoneering — is when you travel in a canyon by navigating the stream flowing down the mountain. This sport can encompass numerous tactics, such as climbing, swimming, hiking and other strategies to make it through the course. You can go at your own pace, so take your time and embrace the beautiful nature around you.
Another intriguing part about canyoning is the low price point. Many of America’s canyons are in national parks and offer free or low admission fees. For example, Grand Canyon National Park charges $20 for a seven-day pass.
6. Cage Diving
The previous activities required moving, but you should sit still for this one. Cage diving is an accessible adrenaline-producing event because all you have to do is sit in a steel trap. The catch is you’re face-to-face with a great white shark, one of the most feared apex predators on the planet.
You won’t encounter a shark at the office unless you live in the “Finding Nemo” universe. Sometimes, the sharks ignore you. However, you may see the shark attack the cage and pose a severe risk to the diver. Are you ready to get up close and personal with danger?
Finding Hobbies With Adrenaline Rush Benefits
Did reading about these activities make your palms sweat and your feet tingle? Thinking of only putting metal bars between you and a shark or a crocodile may be too much for some. However, the thrill is the objective for many.
Adrenaline rushes can come in good or harmful situations. The benefits can be exciting for your physiological and psychological health. One round of skydiving can make you feel fulfilled and more motivated.
Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.