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Published: December 26, 2022
Let's talk about exactly what kind of skydive exercise happens when we leap from a plane, freefall for about 1 mile at around 120mph, and then slowly glide in for landing back to Earth. Our bodies are subjected to strenuous physical and mental challenges while skydiving, not necessarily because it's hard, but because skydiving isn't something that you do every day - unless you're really lucky.
It's like this: you might lift weights for your arms 5x a week in the gym, but then skip leg day. So even though you're considered to be in really good shape, the second you do some calf raises or hamstring curls you'll really feel the burn. We aren't able to simultaneously workout all the muscles that are used in a skydive on the ground, and the same goes for simulating the jump for our mind - it's impossible! Skydiving is just ... wonderfully different. Let's talk about how and why it's like a workout for both mind AND body!
Health benefits of skydiving
Skydiving pushes our physical and mental limits! When you skydive, you have to be 100% fully engaged in the moment with your body and brain. This is something that makes the sport extremely unique.
Let's get physical!
Skydiving exerts energy from multiple muscle groups at the same time. The "rig" - which includes the backpack (container), two parachutes, an AAD, and everything else needed for a skydive - is about 25 pounds for solo jumpers or 50 pounds for tandems ... talk about a skydiver workout! The weight of this being picked up, put down, and worn while walking around does the same thing that carrying a backpack of rocks would do - it gets you toned!
Counteracting the strong force of the wind and carving through the skies with different body positions is sort of like doing a plank, but with your entire body. And then, once the parachute opens you'll be using your arms to steer and safely land; think: lat pulldowns and shoulder presses. Many skydivers are pooped after their first jump, then they work their way up to 3 jumps per day, and eventually crazy numbers like 10 or 15 jumps per day before they feel like calling it quits!
Physical endurance increases the more you repeatedly do an activity, and the same goes for mental stamina. While the "door fear" will be REAL the first couple of times you jump, you'll eventually be itching to get out of the airplane and won't even think twice about the actual exit!
"Bye-Bye" to the jim-jams
Skydiving is a cognitive workout just as much as a physical one. While heights or airplanes may not be a fear for some, the fear of the unknown is a pretty universal one. Skydiving is the epitome of facing the unknown the first time you go and when you start to learn how to jump solo. What if they're not super nice? What if the parachute messes up? What if I don't look good in my video? All these "what if" questions are notorious for giving us the jim-jams, the collywobbles, the jittery anxiety, or overwhelmingly sad-brain slumpies.
First, let us assure you that we are super duper nice and welcoming, you're equipped with two parachutes and a professional and passionate instructor, and you'll look awesome in your video and photos. Skydiving creates the opportunity for a fear to be conquered over, and over, and over again. When we do this consistently, we teach our brains how strong and truly powerful we are over our worldly problems, which is a big stress relief. On top of this, the learning of something new during every single jump is a yuuuuge workout for the cerebrum! Our brains (and body) build up stamina and tolerance with each skydive.
Does skydiving burn calories?
Yes! While burning calories isn't a primary reason to skydive, it can act as an added benefit. According to the Compendium of Physical Activities, a person weighing 150 lbs will, on average, burn about 250 calories while skydiving in a belly-to-earth, neutral position. This is calculated using your metabolic equivalency, or MET. The MET calculates how much energy someone expends while doing a certain activity, such as skydiving. The average caloric burn for skydiving is calculated with this equation: MET (which is 3.5 for an average skydive) x body weight (kg) x 3.5/200 = calories burned per minute.
Caloric burn during skydiving depends on the intensity of the jump. For example, it's a lot easier to relax, arch, and fall belly-to-earth for the entirety of the skydive than it is to freefly or do a formation jump, which requires jumpers to maneuver their bodies in order to efficiently get to one another.
Is there any reason I shouldn't skydive?
People with past medical concerns, such as heart, shoulder, back, or knee issues should get the doc's approval before making the leap of a lifetime. There are many seasoned skydivers with common health concerns or "issues," so we're not saying that any of these will hold you back! It's just better to be safe than sorry, and getting a physician to give you the go-ahead will bring peace of mind to everyone.
Can I exercise to prepare for skydiving?
Definitely! While having a 6-pack is not a prerequisite to jumping, the better physical condition you're in can directly correlate to how much you're able to do in the sky and how long you're able to do it for. If you want to do some light exercising to prepare for your tandem, go for it! Flexibility will be your best friend when sitting in the jump plane and arching like a banana - some light stretching should do the trick to prepare!
Ready to add skydiving to your daily dozen?! Book your skydive today and get the most thrilling workout of your LIFE!
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