PC: Tom Servais
There’s no feeling quite like pushing yourself to the edge. Whether its paddling out in the peak of a swell or teetering on the precipice of double black diamond for the first time, there’s a distinct mixture of horror and thrill when it comes to surpassing your personal limits. While no good can come from blatantly disregarding your current ability, striving for better helps you grow as an athlete. Additionally, as it turns out, facing your fears offers a couple health benefits as well. When the brain perceives the body to be in danger, it sends signals to the adrenal gland to release a series of hormones that work to keep you alive. Being realistic, these might not be significantly beneficial in the long run, but they’re a damn good excuse for you to rise to that next challenge, and go full throttle the next time you get butterflies in your stomach.
When your brain perceives stress or trouble, it queues the adrenal gland to fire up their engines and get going. The glands then release large amounts of epinephrine that effectively put the body into survival mode. Your body operates at a heightened level, with blood pressure rising, eyes dilating, and your pulse racing. However, most importantly for our purposes, this response gives the body greater stamina and strength in stress inducing situations. This means that if you go for that massive jump with your heart racing, your body may be able to operate at an above average level and provide the strength you need to actually pull it off…..