Wilbur and Orville Wright’s invention of the first powered aircraft was one of the greatest accomplishments of the 20th Century. And – less than a decade after the mechanized, powered flight was achieved – skydiving began to occur in the United States. Though initially used by the military as a means of insertion, following World War II civilian skydiving operations began to pop up all across the U.S.
Now, nearly 3 million jumps are made by first-timers, experienced skydivers, and dedicated, full-time skydivers every year. So, what compels so many everyday folks to make the leap (and to continue leaping, for that matter)?
Aside from being a tremendous amount of fun, there are actually many benefits of skydiving. From physical to mental, read about the top typical physiological and psychological benefits of skydiving below.
Those who make a habit of skydiving quickly discover that skydiving is a physically strenuous activity. Likewise, one of the benefits of skydiving is improved physical fitness.
On every jump, an experienced skydiver must: carry their 20-30 lb skydiving rig (the backpack-looking container that holds the main and reserve parachutes) to the aircraft; exit and maneuver their body while falling 120 mph; deploy and fly the parachute using toggle inputs requiring about 25 pounds of downward force, and finally walk back into the hangar carrying all their gear (again 20-30lbs). If that sounds like a workout, well, that’s because it is!
In addition to the physical exertion that occurs from the general jumping process, also consider that if the individual chooses to pack their own parachute, they must then also wrangle with a heavy bundle of fabric, pack it neatly and compactly into a skydiving container, and then using a special tool, and their muscles, close the container back up again.
Oh, and did we mention some jumpers repeat this entire process 10 times a day?
Welcome to the skydiving fitness program!
The benefits of skydiving are not limited to improving one’s physique. There are also positive effects of skydiving on the brain.
When you skydive, your body releases a euphoria-inducing chemical cocktail. One of the primary ingredients in this natural hormonal concoction is dopamine, the pleasure neurotransmitter. In addition to having a positive effect on mood, studies have shown that dopamine also has a positive effect on memory and attentiveness.
In addition to the physical benefits of skydiving, there are also many psychological benefits of skydiving.
Stress is inescapable. However, some have the greater mental resilience to adversity. One of the benefits of skydiving is that the activity allows individuals to cognitively train to improve their response system to stress. By experiencing stress within the context of the managed risks of skydiving, individuals are required to address the issue in the moment using their own cognitive resources rather than by masking the issue with an external coping mechanism. Long term, individuals who develop resilience and improve their reactions to stress are more level-headed when making decisions and, because of improved confidence, perform better both at work and at home.
Initially, on your first few skydives, your window of awareness will be relatively small. Because you are awash in an onslaught of sensory stimuli, you may not remember each moment clearly. However, with each skydive, your body begins to adjust and this perception aperture begins to open, allowing you to take in more around you.
With each subsequent skydive, you will also notice that your peripheral awareness and reaction time on the ground improve as well.
Often high-end problem solving and goal attainment require being able to effectively and skillfully communicate. Perhaps surprisingly, another one of the benefits of skydiving is that it augments communication skills.
For each skydive, a group of individuals will often co-plan, visualize, strategize, and then execute a dive flow. Skydiving will push you to introduce yourself to new people, contribute ideas to jumps, and review the jump afterward, outlining successes and points of improvement. The more this occurs, the more confident a person becomes in their ability to communicate. The result of this consistent exchange amongst peers is an improvement in an individual’s ability to communicate elsewhere.
Interested in what skydiving can do for you? When it comes to the benefits of skydiving, it’s best to find out first-hand! Why delay? Schedule your first skydive today!
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