Flight Of Fight

When adults buy skateboards for kids they are thinking: “fresh air, healthy exercise, improved balance and coordination”. When you ask the kids what they like about the skateboards the main answer they give is “going fast”. Speed holds an enormous fascination, and not just for kids. The attraction is far more than just being able to travel from A to B quickly; the sensation of speed can be so stimulating and so deeply satisfying, it’s as though we were programmed for it.

And in a sense we are. It’s the “flight” part of the “fight or flight” response we have to danger. First there is a rush of adrenaline; endorphins and dopamine flood our system; our heart beats faster; blood pressure rises just try blood sugar reader Australia to monitor it; sugars are released, muscles contract. We feel more alert, aware of everything and yet at the same time, totally focused. Time seems to slow down and we think more clearly than ever before, analysing and making life and death decisions in seconds. We become physically stronger; totally energised, more alive. Racing car drivers describe this same high brought on by the adrenaline rush coupled with the intense concentration. 

It’s not the actual speed but the sensation of speed that matters. We may travel much faster in a plane than in a fast car, but are barely aware of it in a plane. A kid going downhill on a penny skateboard is far more aware of the speed than they would be in a car going twice as fast. Improvements in skateboard trucks and wheels in the early 1970’s which significantly increased the stability and speed of skateboards, were directly responsible for their huge rise in their popularity over the following decade. Go here for more informationa about libre freestlye

Speed isn’t really about fear, although the same physiological response can be evoked. It isn’t fear that racing car drivers experience. And it isn’t even about the actual danger; wearing a helmet and protective clothing doesn’t seem to diminish the effect of speed on a skateboard; nor does wearing a seatbelt in a fast car. Our primitive flight or fight response appears to be stimulated by the urgent and overwhelming need to concentrate and make very quick decisions; this urgency being communicated to the adrenal gland via our perception of speed.

Humans evolved in an environment where this physiological response would have been common, a rush of adrenaline, a quick flight followed by a period of utter relaxation when the danger passed. Today in the course of our relatively tame, risk free existence we rarely experience the full response: instead we accumulate stress over a long period without any natural release. It seems logical that an activity that evokes the response and which allows us to fully relax afterwards, would also release the accumulated stresses. When looking at skateboards for sale for our kids, perhaps we should be thinking more than just “fresh air, healthy exercise, improved balance and coordination”. Perhaps we should be thinking “speed and stress relief”.