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Published: March 12, 2021
Skydiving is very definitely a sport. Before learning about what is involved, it can be tricky to imagine exactly how this is so - but skydiving has its own global competition circuit, and there are world records and championships people chase with dedication and seriousness. Jumping out of planes is also a leisure activity and an experience that has been carefully developed to allow as many people to access it as possible. With just a small amount of training you can be ready to go for your first tandem skydive and experience the unique thrill of freefall. If it is indeed a sport, do you need to be fit? Let's see...
Skydiving does have a weight limit, and here at Skydive Long Island we use the pretty standard 225 lbs for height/weight proportionate people. The weight represents the combination of a few things. Skydiving aircraft are relatively small and must operate to their full potential for good business. If you overload it might not be able to fly - or burn too much fuel getting to altitude that you cannot make money - which is why there is a small surcharge in place for people over 200 lbs. Skydiving equipment is very strong, many times tougher than it needs to be to do its job. That said, it also has upper weight limits - because overloading it will wear it out fast and it is expensive to replace. Then there is comfort. The harnesses we use are adjustable, but only go so big - and there is also clambering in and out of the plane to consider. Skydiving planes are relatively small and your comfort is important to us - getting in on the ground and out at the top needs to be efficient.
While some professional skydivers do indeed take fitness seriously, there are many who are nothing like what you would think of as health gurus. Like any sport, the fitter you get the more you are likely to get out of it - and skydiving opens up into many amazing adventures that can last your whole life. For your first go, a level of overall wellness and mobility is a good thing. Your body is a factory for processing chemicals, and the thrill of skydiving activates the good chemicals in your system - such as adrenaline and endorphins. The fitter you are, the better your body is at accessing these chemicals - and the more you get the better you feel.
Working out for skydiving can be an excellent idea. Mobility exercises such as yoga are great, and things like swimming that work out your whole body are the best foundation. It is hard to train your body for how exactly freefall movement works without actually jumping from a plane or going to a vertical wind tunnel. Tunnels are an excellent way to get the idea of what freefall feels like, and are used both recreationally and by hardcore professionals as a training tool. While flying in the tunnel is a legit way to learn the skills, you don't have to do it before your first jump - whether that is a tandem skydive or the first jump on the way to get a license of your very own. Everything you need to know about how to fall will be done when you arrive.
Skydivers have worked out how to fall in any and every imaginable body position, but the first one you need is on your belly. This is the way you probably imagine when you think of what skydiving is - chin up and hips down, looking forward with your arms and legs out for stability. This position is easy to get right even if you have never done it before, and keeps your parachute system in the place where you need it to be (on your back and therefore above you). You can practice this skydiving position in advance just by lying on the ground and picking everything up except your hips - thereby creating a nice aerodynamic arch. Even for a few seconds this feels like hard work on the ground, but when you have the 'relative wind' to support you it is vastly more comfortable - so much so that you will not even notice.
You don't have to be super fit to go skydiving. Over the years we have got very good at making it accessible to almost everyone, and we want as many people to experience it as possible. If you are a little bit over the weight limit - why not let this be an awesome goal to aim for, You can celebrate hitting your target by doing one of the most awesome things there is! If there is anything on your mind, feel free to give us a call and we will answer any questions you might have. We look forward to jumping with you soon! .
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