Non-harmful adrenaline rushes
January 13, 2018 5:10 PM   Subscribe

I feel wound-up physically and I would like to do something invigorating and physically demanding like have a fight, go cross-country skiing or run for miles. However I'm poor, unfit and have a bit of a delicate back so those things are currently out of the question.

Solutions that come to my mind are all pretty self destructive (eg 'just drink until you don't feel like that anymore!'). What activities might address this immediate desire without actually stressing my body too much or costing loads? They don't have to be sporty suggestions but also can't be the kind of adrenaline rush one might get from sitting on the sofa watching a horror film. Also not sex.
(And yes I have started working on my fitness levels etc, just want some suggestions for right now).
posted by KateViolet to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Tough question! Do you have any access to a gym or pool? Something like exercise bike or swimming could let you push yourself, but without the risk of injury that might come with running (or having a fight!).

How about briskly walking up steep hills? Much harder than regular walking but, again, without the added impact of running. Or perhaps stairs, if you can be sure to do it safely.

... Do you like arguing on the Internet?
posted by grobstein at 5:16 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]

Yeah, swimming. Probably costs less than a bunch of alcohol would -- look for a YMCA nearby. Also, I very much recommend soft silicone ear plugs to prevent ear infection (also good for blocking loud noise).

If that's out of the question, singing loudly while doing minimal exercise (basic low-impact dancing) can get your heart and lungs going.
posted by amtho at 5:24 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

A long (5+ miles) fast-paced walk.
posted by unreasonable at 5:33 PM on January 13

Jumping jacks. Doesn't even have to be especially vigorous. Or walking up or down stairs. That's my cheap go-to when I am physically wound up and need some kind of healthy (or healthier) release than throwing things or eating myself into a stupor. Some folks prefer to punch a pillow. Walk, as noted above, also helps me but I usually can't/don't walk fast enough to make a difference. But a mere 25 jumping jacks is often enough to calm me down. Good luck!
posted by Bella Donna at 5:40 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]

What about some aggressive deep-cleaning? Scrubbing floors or shower grout for example.

If you have any hand-eye coordination, some time in batting cage can be very therapeutic. You can often find these at mini-golf or other entertainment centers. Along the same lines, pinball games can be surprisingly physical.
posted by muddgirl at 5:43 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Put on sneakers and bolt out your front door, as fast as you can. This kicks that "jumping out of my skin" feeling better than anything else I've tried.
posted by pintapicasso at 5:54 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]

Is there a climbing or bouldering gym near you? I didnt have to climb high or exert much effort at all to get a huge adrenaline rush.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:19 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

Find a good kids playground when there’s nobody there and try stuff like swinging along the monkey bars, spinning yourself on a carousel or playing on the flying fox. Or find an open (grassy) space and try teaching yourself to do cartwheels and handstands.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 6:21 PM on January 13

I may be way off base here so feel free to ignore the following.

I detect a bit of anger in your being "wound-up". So whatever you choose to do to scratch your itch should be something that helps you release your pent-up frustration. Maybe beating on something, pounding, or throwing a private temper tantrum surrounded by pillows. Really, I think whatever suggestion resonates most for you is the right thing to do, regardless of how silly it sounds.
posted by DrGail at 6:38 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

I'll +1 the cleaning
posted by salvia at 6:41 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

I don't know if your back precludes it or if it's too much like horror film adrenaline for you, but the first thing that came to mind for easy adrenaline was roller coasters.
posted by Gymnopedist at 6:43 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

My instinct when reading your question was that you're craving like a full-body narrowing of focus. Like when my head is racing, all I want is like a huge sensory BAM to focus my brain on one thing. Here are some things I've tried that scratch this itch (outside of intense exercise):

- Hold an ice cube in your hand until it melts
- Take a hot bath then an ice cold shower
- Fill a sink with ice cubes and water and dunk your face in it
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 7:02 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]

I find a plunge into a very cold body of water to do exactly this. Bonus points because being out in nature also tends to help me wind down, even if I'm not doing anything physically strenuous. If you've got a cold body of water nearby (that wont actually give you hypothermia this time of year), give it a try! If not, I'll echo Uncle Glendinning's suggestion of a hot bath followed by a cold shower.
posted by JuliaIglesias at 7:09 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Skating -- roller or ice.
posted by maurreen at 7:11 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Do you mean "immediate" = "in the coming weeks" or "immediate" = "this very minute?"
posted by tzikeh at 7:55 PM on January 13

Lift some heavy household objects (safely).

Sauna / jump in the lake. Sauna again.

Find some big rocks and throw them, preferably, onto the ice and try to get them into the swimming hole.
posted by littlewater at 8:29 PM on January 13

I like doing the Wii Boxing game when I feel like this. Or just punching the air if I can't work up the motivation to turn on a video game console. When I am wound up there is almost always some anger in it, and punching imaginary enemies is pretty great for that.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 8:38 PM on January 13

Hell yes to the (ice) skating suggestion. Go rent a pair.
Imagine that the surface of the ice is the face of every boss you've ever had.
get your ya-yas out like nothing else.
posted by BostonTerrier at 9:16 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

This is one reason some people like competitive online gaming, particularly multiplayer slugfest or (say) combat flight sim or battle type things.
posted by flug at 9:22 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

If you have access to one, foam rollling might not be a bad idea. It's ... reasonably unpleasant, when you're starting out, to be perfectly honest. But I find it to be such a relief to release the roller from a tight spot that it might be the sort of adrenaliney release you're looking for. A foam roller can be had for about $20-25, or ask runner/cyclist buddies/coworkers if anyone has one they don't use anymore, or you could substitute a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, or even a length of scrap PVC pipe (wrap it in towels to make it more bearable, you can reduce the towels over time as you get used to it).
posted by sldownard at 2:31 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]

Do you have a local YMCA with reasonable rates and a punching/weight bag? I found boxing does wonders for the "are you f'ing kidding me" feelings that wind me up.
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 5:11 AM on January 14

Similar to the cold shower suggestion — in wintertime, if I need a kick, I go outside and stand there for a half a minute without a jacket on.
posted by fire, water, earth, air at 2:20 PM on January 14

depending on where you live, you might be able to go to someplace that gathers together a bunch of delicate glassware or other breakable objects of your choice, gives you safety glasses and a big hammer or baseball bat, and lets you smash until you are tired of smashing ("rage rooms" I think they are called).

if this seems too stupid, there is an outbreak of axe-throwing places opening up around where I live. you go there and they give you some axes and you throw them. at walls, not people, or maybe there is a tiered price structure depending on your interests. like darts, but with axes, and I don't know if these places are allowed to have liquor licenses so maybe it is no fun.

I have not done either of these things because being pandered to is the thing that makes me the most angry, so it would not be satisfying. plus I don't know if your back would enjoy it. but neither activity requires athleticism, just violence. they would cost, but less than skiiing.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:47 PM on January 14

foam rolling is a great endorphin bloom

playing overwatch has been my go-to for this kind of release during a looooong rehabilitation from injuries
posted by sixswitch at 10:44 AM on January 15

Make up a Spotify playlist of fast-paced/dance-y/loud/aggressive/whatever works best for you songs and then dance it out. Doesn't have to be good dancing--in fact, it may be better to deliberately NOT focus on technique. Just move as emphatically as possible to whatever your jam is. Here is an ask I did awhile back asking people about their jams if you are looking for some jam-spiration.
posted by helloimjennsco at 7:58 AM on January 16

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