Skydiving. The pinnacle of all things bucket list. Free falling from altitudes that seem meager until you drop from the heavens (or a plane), putting your life in the hands of your guide (if applicable), your parachute (if you’re seasoned and extreme), and hoping you don’t hit a bird or a high-flying insect on the way down as the earth hurdles toward you at the alarming speed of 9.8 meters per second squared, which you curiously remember from high school physics. But that adrenaline coursing through your veins, the rush of falling, your heart threatening to leap from you chest (which would be disastrous should that happen), all of these make the dive worthwhile.
But it’s no fun if you suddenly thrust yourself into it. That said, HFR compiled a list of the top 10 skydiving health tips to help you prepare.
- Warm Up – Warm ups are important for any activity or sport. Most athletes – professional, amateur and hobbyists do simple warms ups to prepare their bodies for physical activity so it is important that you warm up before each jump you take. These warm ups will help to keep your body in top physical condition. You could try warm ups that are light aerobic movements such as jumping jacks or running on the spot for a few minutes.
- Stretching – Stretching your muscles improves flexibility, range of motion and can loosen your muscles in preparation for physical activity. Having all of these in check can make you seem more “fluid” as you drop from the skies, giving a more pleasant feeling on your descent. It is important to stretch each muscle group, holding each stretching position for ten to twenty seconds. Also remember that stretching should be done slowly to avoid pulling a muscle. Additionally, to avoid any injury, do not force the stretch past the point of extreme pain.
- Physical fitness – Being physically fit to skydive isn’t imperative, however, it can help control your free fall and your parachute. After all, having a fit body means you will be less likely to injure yourself upon a rough landing, funneled formations and or a poor exit. Having the strength and endurance, gained through fitness will help you skydive with more control and have a great time without any injury.
- Weight – Being of the correct weight is important when skydiving. Not just a physically fit weight but, it can be dangerous to go skydiving if your weight is too much for your parachute to handle. Weighing 225 pounds for tandems and 220 pounds for accelerated free fall is the weight limit. A maximum weight is tested on the equipment for a safe skydiving experience and testing that yourself by skydiving against the equipment’s recommendations can prove fatal. If you want to go skydiving, this might be a great motivation to lose weight.
- Wake up – Don’t go skydiving if you didn’t get enough sleep the night before! Make sure you get a great night of sleep and eat energizing food that won’t leave you sluggish. Try eating fruits, like apples or oranges, or even have some green tea to help wake you up if you need to!
- Be mentally prepared – It is important that you clear your mind before a jump. Educate yourself with every relevant fact there is to know about skydiving, but don’t scare yourself by looking up unfortunate accident stories. You should also realize what you might need to do in an emergency. You need to mentally prepare yourself for the fall, especially if you have fear of heights and try to remove any negative thoughts or fears that might be clouding you.
- Meditation – Meditation is another way to ease yourself into calming your mind and becoming ready to skydive.The goal of meditating is to strive for a calm state of being and relieve your body and mind of fear. In the emotional experience of fear, the brain becomes unbalanced. The key is to balance your mind and to move away from your Fight or Flight mode. There are many ways in which you might be able to meditate, but the key is to remove yourself from the stress and fear and find yourself in tranquility.
- Relax – While it is true we recommended you be wide awake while you skydive, you should also have your body relaxed. How can you relax and be energized, you ask? By relaxing, we mean you should ease your body from being tense or stressed due to any fears you might have. You need to relax your mind by telling yourself positive words and then acting out how you want to feel – relaxed, calm and collected. You can also relax your body through breathing deeply and even doing some warm ups.
- Breathe – Like any physical activity, your breath is important to keep track of. By taking deep, deliberate breaths you will relax your body and mind. This will give your body a constant flow of oxygen to help you think clearly and pay attention to your instructor and your surroundings rather than being distracted by any internal thoughts; don’t hyperventilate though!
- Consult your physician – Before going skydiving consult your doctor. Be sure to ask your doctor if your body can handle such an extreme activity as skydiving. Be aware that you will not be allowed to do skydiving if you have some heart-related illness. Other conditions that might prevent you from skydiving may include medical conditions that affect your motor skills or judgement.
Have you ever wondered why skydiving seems to be ubiquitous on to do lists? Perhaps it has to do with the adrenaline rush and the other health benefits that come with it!
Skydiving is just, well, diving from the sky, right? Well, kinda. Check out these 10 places you should skydive for fantastic sights, sounds, and an overall refreshing travelling experience.