I was standing on top of one of the steepest skate ramps from 3rd Lair, a graffiti walled skate park near my home in Minneapolis. Flanked by my two sons, I peeked over the edge and tried to figure out what i was supposed to do: jump on my padded knees and slide down the almost vertical slope.
I was only 10 minutes away from our first lessonskateboarding and my heart was racing. I've been a longtime athlete, but I'm also in my 40s and was afraid of breaking a bone, or worse. Without hesitation, my 13 year old son took the plunge, and my 8 year old son followed shortly thereafter.
"Go on the expiration Said our instructor, James Kaul, who goes by the nickname Trog and posts an endless stream of skateboarding advice that doubles as a philosophy of life. Things like "You have to learn to fall before you can learn to skateboard.
So I took a breath, I fell to my knees and I slipped. Then I did it two more times before working on the up and down of the board, the turns and the descents (and climbs) of small ramps.
Skateboarding is only one of several new sports making their Olympic debuts in the Games d 'summer in Tokyo this month, in addition to karate, sport climbing (indoor climbing) and surfing.
Although I have tended to do fairly common workouts for most of my life, such as swimming, running, and mountain biking, I was curious as to what it would take to be the best in sports I had never tried. I was also intrigued by the potential physical and mental benefits I could gain from trying them. Participating in new sports can help build long neglected muscles, a said Jack Raglin, an exercise and athletic specialist at the University of Indiana at Bloomington.There is some evidence to suggest that engaging in new activities and increase exercise motivation , strengthen the brain and even stimulate feelings of passion in romantic relationships .
So I put on a skate helmet, put on a climbing harness, and fastened a karate belt to see if I had what it takes to master some of these new Olympic sports. Image Skateboarding is among the various sports making their Olympic debuts. Emily Sohn and her son, Zach, 13, learned to walk up and down ramps at a skatepark in Minneapolis. Credit ... Jenn Ackerman for Hfrance.fr
Three days after my skate lesson, I picked up a friend and headed to Vertical Endeavors, a rock climbing gym in a suburb south of Minneapolis. The hall has a wall dedicated to speed climbing, which together with lead climbing (climbing haswith a rope) and bouldering (climbing with no rope), is one of the three climbing styles that will make up the sport climbing event in Tokyo. A regulation speed climbing wall is 49 feet high with an overhang of 5 degrees. The goal: to climb to the top, like Spiderman, as quickly as possible and against an opponent.
My friend and I had plenty of air. rock climbing experience, but speed climbing was a first for us, so we asked Tony Mansourian, a gym youth climbing team coach, for advice. He said that while more conventional types of sport and outdoor climbing focus on deliberate hand movements and foot placements, succeeding on the speed wall requires more dynamic jumps and minimal thinking.
"Speed climbing is its own discipline", saidclarified Mr. Mansourian. “Climbing it like a traditional ascent almost makes it more difficult. "
After hooking up a self-belay device, I tried to turn my brain off and avoid a wait at the other (like I've seen professionals do this ). But each move required more bursts of muscle power and leaps of faith than I could handle. Several times I barely grabbed the edge of the next take and had to growl to push my way through. My forehead became sweaty. My heart rate has skyrocketed. Every few movements I had to stop to catch my breath. It took me about two minutes to reach the top, far from the women's world record of about seven seconds. But I was elated par the challenge and determined to improve myself.
A great advantage of weaving new activities into your exercise repertoire, said Martin Hagger, psychologist health care at the University of California, Merced, is that it can increase your motivation to train . New experiences can trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, he said, which in turn can lead to feelings of pleasure, satisfaction and the urge to do it again.
Connecting with a community of people you exercise with, such as those in the climbing gym, can also get you more involved in a particular workout , said Dr Raglin. A sense of belonging can increase your self-esteemself-esteem and cement your identity within that group of people, which in turn can help you develop and maintain a healthy habit. "Your reason for exercising is broadening," he continued, "from just a form of fitness or skill-based activities to," These are my friends and i want to share this with my friends. "Css-axufdj evys1bk0 "> With my forearms and triceps still sore the day after my attempt at speed climbing, I stood barefoot on a floor, looking my husband in the eyes before to kick him in the stomach, then block his return punch and fight back. We practiced kumite, one of the two disciplines of karate appearing for the first time on the Olympic program. In kumite, two people train with punches and kicks and earn points when they hit specific places on their opponent's body. Theanother discipline, kata, is a choreographed set of movements performed solo. Image Ms. Sohn practiced a style of karate, which made its international debut in Tokyo, with her husband, Gabriel Keller, at Kitsune Karate in Minneapolis. Credit ... Jenn Ackerman for Hfrance.fr
One Tuesday morning, we learned the basics of both disciplines from the owners of a local studio called Kitsune Karate. Amy Sperling, who has won several national and international karate competitions, and her husband Scott Parkin moved with fluidity and grace as they showed what to do. The movements sembwere doable, but I struggled to coordinate my arms and legs in the correct order when it was our turn. We laughed as much at our mistakes as we laughed at kicks and punches. But there was also h idden value in the lesson.
Exercising with a spouse or partner can make people more likely to s " 'Stick to a given workout - and the relationship, according to research from Dr. Raglin's team and others. In one of the early studies of 1995 , married couples who exercised together were much more likely to continue an exercise program. exercise that married people who participated alone - a finding that was replicated in other , title mostly small studies since then. Doing new and exciting things together , such as skiing, dancing or going to a concert, can also lead to greater relationship satisfaction and make the activity more enjoyable, some research suggests .
After my week of Olympic adventure, I came out sore, of course, but also emboldened to continue testing the limits of my exercise comfort zone. I also felt closer to my children, my husband and my friends. I wondered what else I could learn from others to do as a middle age.
Gaining the confidence to take risks is a marginal benefit of trying new activities, said Dr Raglin." If you get into that kind of groove, it's like, 'Well, and then? ", he declared.
I still have courage to gather: The Freestyle BMX is also a new cycling event this year, and break dancing is set to make its debut at the 2024 Olympics. But for now, I'm going to take a hot bath and revel in my Olympic accomplishments.
Emily Sohn is a freelance health and science journalist.