5 Grueling Sports that Will Challenge Your Fitness Level

Do you want to test how strong your body is? You may be a competitive athlete or just a weekend warrior, engaging in extreme sports can be a form of active leisure. It won’t only challenge your fitness, but it will also give your fears a nudge. And as a bonus, you get to socialize with a group of people who share your passion. Exercise without actually knowing you are keeping yourself fit with these intense sports that are not only enjoyable but also do wonders to your body.

1. Triathlon

back-view-of-a-couple-exercising-for-marathonDid this come as a surprise? A standard distance triathlon involves 1.5 km of swimming, 40 km of biking, and a 10-kilometer run on top of all that. Completing a triathlon gives you a unique sense of fulfillment. You have endured under the excruciating heat to the finish. Imagine squeezing in three disciplines into one sport. Training for a triathlon is no joke. You must not only be physically strong, but mentally tough as well.

More Benefits of Triathlons

  • Triathlons are one of the best weight loss programs. Triathlon training in itself can burn more calories than participating in most sports.
  • You will be forced to eat healthier. Your body needs real food for fuel. A huge number of professionals such as doctors, lawyers, businessmen tend to engage in the sport because it’s really not that cheap to train and race a triathlon. Nutrition plays a huge role not only on race day but also in the training phase. The importance of nutrition in health care especially for triathletes cannot be stressed enough.
  • Look like a god or goddess. Nothing tones the body than a full-body workout. A majority of the muscles that make up your body are engaged when you do triathlons. When training becomes a part of your lifestyle, your body will eventually sculpt itself. Getting chiseled abs, lean legs, and a nice butt is attainable one mile at a time.
  • Exercise coupled with the right diet will show improvements in your metabolism. If the training program is done properly, you won’t be burned out but instead, you’ll even find your energy levels increase.
  • Makes you feel younger. Being constantly on the move does wonder to your metabolic age. The younger your metabolic age is, the more efficient your body is able to do work.

For some people, their triathlon training became so integrated into their lifestyles that it came naturally for them to train in the morning and late in the afternoon. This ultimately increases their fitness level. If you are unable to do so, just a few minutes of intervals before you hit work can also help.

If you think you’re a beast in the gym, try an endurance sport like a triathlon.

2. Parkour

parkourParkour is an interesting extreme sport to try. Parkour, or also known as free running originated in France and is derived from the training in the military which involves running, rolling, swinging, and climbing to move past a series of obstacles. The sport requires a committed and focused mindset, not just physique.

If the thought of hitting the gym already depresses you, keep your fitness motivation up by trying parkour out. Doing parkour is fun. It’s like every wall, tabletop, and architecture you see fit can be turned into a playground. It doesn’t seem like a chore. You just need to be creative in how to prance around the obstacles.

More Benefits of Parkour

  • Improves cardio. Playing parkour requires a sudden shift of movements, some may be a little more explosive. Invariably jumping and moving around can raise your heart rate and increase your stamina.
  • Builds confidence.
  • Promotes quick decision-making skills. Parkour helps you make wise decisions in a snap because you will learn to overcome obstacles in the most efficient way.
  • Makes bones stronger. Movements in parkour help in increasing bone density, therefore, making them sturdier. The impact the movements builds stronger bones. But of course, this is to be practiced with control and skill.

3. Rock Climbing

rock-climbingRock climbing is a sport that can be done indoors and outdoors. This extreme sport tests a person’s body coordination, strength, muscle endurance, and focus. Extreme sports such as this requires a lot of technique and flexibility too. In rock climbing, you are forced to engage your core and multiple muscle groups. This quickly burns calories and builds cardiovascular endurance too.

Stressed? Climb. Rock climbing aids in releasing stress by increasing the levels of a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. It is a challenging sport that pushes you out of your comfort zones.

More Benefits of Rock Climbing

  • Prevents chronic diseases. Just like other extreme sports, rock climbing increases your heart rate and combines strength and cardio in a single sport.
  • Increases your range of motion. Rock climbing requires your body to adapt so you could reach handholds at the most comfortable distance. Leaping, swinging, and reaching improves your mobility and flexibility.
  • Regularly rock climbs improve grip strength. Having a stronger grip enables you to lift heavier things. It even helps you in carrying your grocery bags in a longer time.

4. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

martial-arts-masters-self-defence-practice-in-gymWhat differs Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from other martial arts is that it relies more on strength, technique, and leverage instead of just power. This type of martial art helps not only in strength but also in improving muscular endurance, flexibility, and body coordination. But you have to make sure that your form is right to avoid injuries. You might want to call your fitness healthcare provider for BJJ instructors referals.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will be most beneficial to smaller and weaker people in terms of self-defense. It enables them to tackle bigger attackers. Our bodies have weak points. BJJ helps you find their weak points for them not to do a counter. Strength and speed are useless when they are on their backs.

More Benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

  • Teaches you self-defense. This is not only for people with smaller heights but also for people who just need to protect themselves from goons.
  • Conditions your muscles. The sport includes tackling, grappling, and drilling. It’s a total body workout too.
  • It will teach you patience. Practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be tricky as it requires a proper technique for execution. To learn the right way to do it, patience is necessary. This is true for all extreme sports.
  • It’s a great way to release stress. When you are angry or frustrated, you can translate this emotion into power. It releases stress from your body to the mat.

5. Mountain Biking

biker-with-mountain-bikeBeing able to ride a bike on the trails is one of the best feelings in the world. You feel one with nature. It was surveyed by the Outdoor Industry Foundation that nearly 40 million people ride a mountain bike every year, and this is in the U.S. alone. Just like other extreme sports, mountain biking requires technique and balance. The more complicated the terrain the higher the demands for skill and fitness. The challenge in this sport is limitless. You will never run out of fun obstacles to ride.

Whether you’re just a weekend rider or a serious competitor, mountain biking offers a lot of benefits to your mind and body. From the eternal words of Freddie Mercury, “Get on your bikes and ride!”.

More Benefits of Mountain Biking

  • Gives you wings. Some tracks require you to jump and drop from an elevated terrain. Bunny hops are good skills to learn on a bike. When you are suspended in the air, it gives you a feeling of flight.
  • Leads you to breathtaking sights. The higher the climb, the more beautiful the views are. There are a lot of ways to get to the peak. But one of the most popular ones is mountain biking. Mountain biking will give you a greater sense of appreciation to Mother Nature. After a tough climb, there is nothing more rewarding than a great view of the natural world.
  • Speaking of nature, there is a 2015 study from Stanford University that measured the changes in the human brain after a 50-minute walk in a natural environment. It’s a like a mini-vacation for their thoughts. Being out on a saddle and hanging out with Mother Nature for hours, imagine what that does to your cognitive state. You are only one trail ride away from improving your mood.
  • Mountain biking requires intense cardio depending on your pace. The higher the intensity of the workout will burn a great number of calories.
  • There is always something about learning a new trick on a bike. Life is too short to be boring. Practice tricks like manualing, bunny hopping, pumping, and cornering, and you get a good sweat without you even knowing it.

If you want to try a new sport that challenges you not only physically but also gives your mental toughness a nudge, try on one of these 5 extreme sports. You’ll get stronger not only through diet and fitness, but your mind is being challenged the same way.

Author Bio:
Nina Alexandra Palmares is copywriter at Earthnutri Performance and a Cross-country Mountain bike racer for the Rhino Head Philippines team. Off the saddle, she loves to cook ‘real’ food and perpetually geeks about music, cult movies, bikes, and Game of Thrones . She graduated with a degree in Information Technology. You can follow her journey on Instagram with the handle @winkypalmares and check out her curated bike ride playlist on Spotify.