When considering extreme sports, there are many pros and cons to take into account, but first it is important to understand what the sports involve. What exactly is an extreme sport? The definition of an extreme sport is not very concrete, but generally speaking an extreme sport is some sort of physical activity that supplies a greater adrenaline rush to the participant than normal physical activities or sports would supply. The reason for the higher level of adrenaline is because extreme sports are usually moderately to extremely dangerous. Risks can often include increased likelihood of serious injury, paralysis or even death.
Some examples of extreme sports are: skateboarding, BMX, motocross, drag racing, sky diving, mountain biking, mountain climbing, surfing, water skiing, hang gliding, off-road/ ATVing, base jumping, cliff jumping, high diving, and barefoot skiing, just to name a few. With extreme sports the possibilities and variations are almost endless, depending on how daring the individual is.
For the most part, extreme sports, like many other physical activities, offer great health and wellness benefits to their participants. Activities like mountain climbing and biking, surfing, skateboarding, and biking require participants to be in peak physical condition to ensure not only that they can perform the activity, but also that they can perform it safely.
The second positive benefit of extreme sports is the pleasurable release of endorphins or the adrenaline rush that the participant experiences. It can feel really, really good to excel or compete in these extreme activities and it is easy to get hooked. The term "adrenaline junkie" can certainly apply to extreme sport athletes.
A third positive benefit is a mental one. The confidence and experience gained from these sometimes brushes with death can make other real world situations, both at home and in the workplace, seem like a cake walk. The lessons learned from facing the difficulties and the risks of these extreme sports are very valuable in everyday life.
It is also possible to gain fame or notoriety from performing death defying acts. Names like Evel Knieval and Tony Hawk are iconic and legendary names in the lore of American popular culture. Thrill seekers are romanticized and idolized by many who dream of being able to perform their breath taking stunts. However, it is important to note only a few reach this status and it is a very long and difficult journey.
The most obvious con, or drawback, to extreme sports is that they can be extremely, extremely dangerous. The likelihood of sustaining a very serious injury while performing these activities is high to say the least. Sports like sky diving and base jumping or cliff jumping or even bungee jumping can have deadly consequences if even the smallest thing goes wrong. Other extreme sports like surfing, snowboarding, or skateboarding increase your likelihood of breaking bones, loss of limbs, or even paralysis. The danger level is something that should certainly be considered.
The second negative aspect of extreme sports is the difficultly level. Because these sports provide such a huge rush and have such a high risk involved, they are understandably very difficult to excel at. Reaching top levels of performance in these activities requires insane discipline and many hours of practice; and obviously the more you practice and perform, the higher your risk for injury will be.
The third drawback is financial; even though these sports are more dangerous and more difficult than most popular sports, such as football, baseball, hockey, basketball, or soccer, the top athletes do not earn nearly as much money as those who are top athletes in the mainstream sports. So if you are looking to earn money being an extreme sport athlete, you can be sure it will be very difficult to do. You must truly enjoy what you do and the rush it gives you to be able to get satisfaction; if financial gain is your aim then extreme sports most definitely are not for you.
This is just a short list of the pros and cons that surround extreme sports activities, but there are many more; the possibilities and variations are almost endless and so too are the pros and cons. Do some more research on your own and see what extreme sport or sports are right for you and your comfort level. Be sure to consult professionals before trying any of these sports on your own because, as mentioned above, they can be (and are) very dangerous, especially when you have little to no experience. But as with most things in life: the greater the risk, the greater the potential reward!