What Happens To Your Body (Good + Bad) When You Skydive?
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Skydiving cannot possibly be all positive and no negative, right? We can all agree that jumping from an airplane is awesome, but surely there are some risks, conditions, or short- or long-term after-effects that nobody tells you about upfront…
It’s normal for the mind to be full of questions before such a mega life event. After all, humans are essentially monkeys that only figured out flight relatively recently. How can we be sure about any of it? Is skydiving hard on your body? What does skydiving do to the brain…is skydiving good for your mental health? How often do parachutes fail? Is skydiving bad for your heart? Will I feel weird after skydiving?
So many questions…and, fortunately, lots of answers! Let’s get into it!
Good Things About Skydiving
You Feel Accomplished
Skydiving can be scary to do for the first time, and meeting the moment head-on will make you feel accomplished basically forever. The best part about facing your fear and anxiety about skydiving is that the scariest part happens right when you exit the plane. As soon as you are through the door and out in the big blue sky, your fear melts away. All you know now is the total joy of freefall.
You Feel Amazing
A big adrenaline dump feels good, and there is perhaps no better way to achieve this than to leap from the open door of an aircraft. ‘Fight or flight’ mode is built into humans to protect us from danger, by flooding our physical and mental systems with natural chemicals that allow us to function at our very best. The serotonin and dopamine released during a skydive can have an immediate effect on your overall mood by stimulating increased blood flow and an elevated heart rate, plus provide a lingering boost to your physical and mental wellbeing.
You Gain Perspective
Skydiving serves up an epic adventure that many people find to be profound. Even a single jump (and if you go on to do many, then especially the first jump) can alter the way you see the world and move within it. When you do the impossible and fly, you recognize that you have the potential to overcome other challenges and anxiety-inducing obstacles. Want that job? Apply! Want to take that trip? Go! Want to ask that special someone an extra special question? Do it! The world is your oyster.
Potentially Bad Things About Skydiving
You Go High (Heights Can Be Scary)
For many people, acrophobia – or the fear of heights – is connected to the feeling of being unsafe while standing on something high up. What if you slip off the cliff? Or fall over the railing on the balcony?
Here’s the thing: when you skydive, the goal is to jump…and you cannot fall by accident once you are already falling on purpose. And – bonus – you don’t feel like you’re falling at all! Freefall feels like floating. You might also be surprised at how comfortable and confident you feel during freefall. Once your highly-trained tandem instructor deploys the parachute, you hang securely by your shoulders – still, no falling involved.
You Go Fast (Motion Sickness Is Real)
You’re worried about nausea and vomit; totally normal. Good news: skydiving doesn’t feel like riding a hair-raising, stomach-dropping roller coaster. It’s actually very smooth. The exit from the plane into freefall is a graceful transfer of momentum. The deployment of the parachute is purposefully gradual. And the parachute flight is peaceful and serene (unless you ask your instructor to go wild). The key to keeping your food down and the fun factor up is to eat normally and stay hydrated.
You Need Gear (Malfunctions Happen)
In the way-back days, skydiving was a bit of a gamble. You jumped with round, military surplus parachutes that took you where the wind blew. Nope. Not any more.
Modern-day skydiving equipment is high-tech, meticulously tested, and equipped with sophisticated safety systems. Parachutes and harnesses are reliable and durable and can complete hundreds and thousands of jumps. Everything has regular maintenance cycles to ensure tip-top shape. Malfunctions are, in fact, rare. Case in point, the USPA (United States Parachute Association) – our country’s authority on skydiving safety – reported that 2021 was statistically one of the safest years in skydiving history.
Nerves happen – don’t let them rain on your parade! Set yourself up for success by arriving at the dropzone on time, well-rested, 100% sober, with food in your belly and water close at hand. YOU CAN DO THIS! Give yourself a gift that will keep on giving – let’s go!