For most of the uninitiated, a skydive fits in the same category as a trip to a theme park or a one-time bungee jump off some bridge somewhere. We always sigh when hearing someone express that sentiment because it’s so much more than that. Skydiving is a sport, not a bucket-list checkbox or a one-time, death-defying stunt. It’s a dynamic addition to a healthy lifestyle, with physical and emotional benefits that extend far past the landing. For many, the positive effects help create a life-changing experience. Here, we discuss the top three health benefits of skydiving, exploring ways skydiving can improve your body, mind and mood.
You can be magazine-cover fit, but if you’re clumsy? Man, does that ever wreck the look.
All kidding aside: the art of un-clumsiness is called “proprioception,” and it’s serious business. We use our proprioceptive skills all the time. In fact, we only tend to notice these skills when we’re not using them well. When our proprioception mojo is off, we’re “klutzes.” When it’s on, we move smoothly.
Simply put: Proprioception is the neuromuscular phenomenon that allows you to cognitively understand where all the parts of your body are in space. It gives you safety in difficult-to-navigate environments (like a close bicycle race, a CrossFit box, a tricky downhill running trail, a ski slope or freefall). It allows your disparate parts to work as a strong, unified whole — and strengthens them in that smooth synthesis. Proprioception is strength in precision. It’s grace.
Skydiving (and tunnel flying, too!) is an excellent tool for training proprioception. You can train proprioception in lots of environments, but the key uniqueness of skydiving is that the body is removed from its standard feet-on-the-ground orientation. Instead, the body is supported by a column of air molecules, which exerts force in a very different way than the ground does. Instead of simply moving against gravity, the athlete controls his or her body position by using delicate little inputs on all the different surfaces directing the position of the body.
Suffice it to say: It’s a workout to move the body around up there! Top physical condition becomes necessary for skydiving.
Skydiving is an intense experience. That intensity is magic. It produces a tidal wave of serotonin and dopamine–two powerful neurotransmitters in the brain that control how the body experiences the world. A healthy amount of serotonin means better focus, more peaceful sleep and more enjoyment in your experience of daily life. Dopamine, on the other hand, is the brain’s reward chemical. Dopamine’s purpose in the brain is to make you feel super-groovy and content as a reward for doing things your body likes. The combination of serotonin and dopamine is quite powerful, giving your whole self a better-functioning, more comfortable platform to learn new things and to take on new challenges.
There’s a reason the sport of skydiving gives such comfort to so many. It offers perspective; it takes us out of our world’s scatterbrained echo chamber and provides a place of deep focus and profound exhilaration. The fact is that it’s inspiring, and there’s nothing better for the soul than to be inspired.
Taking up skydiving does more for your health than making you more graceful or squirting nice chemicals into your brain. It inspires you to chase more possibilities. It nudges you to push a little harder in the direction of your dreams. It asks you to give a little more respect to yourself and your abilities. It connects you more and more deeply to the people around you.
In fact, it just might widen your narrowed definition of what the word “health” means. Aren’t you curious how skydiving can benefit you? Let us show you how!
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