- Info & Pricing
Published: October 21, 2021
Generally, skydiving is a pain-free experience, but it's not without moments of discomfort caused by multiple factors which include an individual's fitness and flexibility as well as variables like harness fit and weather conditions.
It should go without saying that an individual can be seriously injured or even killed when making a skydive (our company attorney wanted us to add that bit in), but barring anything serious we'll cover a routine skydive and the areas where a level of discomfort may be experienced.
If you're doing some research to learn if your aches and pains can withstand a skydive, our first starting point is to identify the physical requirements for each segment of the skydive experience.
What's Required? Crouching, Arching, Bracing and Core-ing!
In skydiving circles, it's often said that "skydiving is not an amusement park ride." The reason for this expression is because each tandem skydiving student plays an active role during their jump and is not just a passenger.
Here are some areas where you'll be taking a physical role in the success of your jump:
Boarding - Crouching
The starting point for the experience is boarding the aircraft. Boarding the plane does require some agility as both student and instructor will need to get on all fours in order to move into position on the aircraft. There will also be some scooting and sliding.
Exiting - Shimmying and Sliding
Before the exit sequence, there'll be more scooting in order to get attached to the instructor. Bear in mind you're not able to stand up to get in position; you'll either be moving on your butt or on your knees. When it's time to exit, there's a bit more scooting and sliding to get into position at the door. This is generally an apprehensive moment that will cause your heart to race. This is natural, but if you have a history of cardiac issues, this may be something to take into consideration.
Free Fall - Arching
Once out of the aircraft, you'll need to help your instructor by demonstrating a good body position which is known as "arching." Visualize the shape of a banana - this is a good arch! A solid arch is formed by pushing the hips forward in free fall. This body position will put some pressure on the lower back. This lower back pressure isn't painful but does cause discomfort for those who may be inflexible or may have had a prior injury to the lower back.
Deployment - Bracing
The moment of deployment is a rapid reduction in speed that can be uncomfortable to some. When the tandem instructor deploys the parachute, free fall speeds decelerate from 120 mph to about 15 mph in a few seconds. During the deceleration phase, guests may feel discomfort in their lower back, neck or tightness in the harness. These sensations are normal, but it should be noted that some openings may be firmer than others and thus cause different levels of discomfort.
On the whole, the "opening shock" of deployment is tolerable and seldom causes injury, but for those who have pre-existing injuries, this action sequence can be uncomfortable.
Landing - "Core-ing"
Yes, we made this word up, but it kind of makes sense (at least to this skydiver). When it's time to land, the tandem passenger will need to lift their legs up and out in order to allow the tandem instructor's legs to touch down first. Lifting and holding the legs requires some core strength (no six pack required), but having zero strength could result in an injury on landing (usually a twisted or even a broken ankle).
Will Skydiving Hurt Your Ears?
Aside from needing some strength and flexibility to skydive, it's also important to make sure you feel good especially when it comes to your sinuses. The descent rate made during a skydive is rapid (about 1,000 feet every six seconds) and you'll need to have the ability to clear the sinuses by equalizing (a technique often used by scuba divers). First time skydivers who have any kind of sinus pressure or nasal blockages should reschedule their skydive for another day. Jumping with sinus pressure is very painful and can cause serious damage to your ear drums!
Skydiving in the Rain - Hurts!
If you've ever been pelted by rain in heavy storm, then you'll know raindrops feel like little pin pricks. This needling sensation is especially true when skydiving in rain at 120 mph. It spoils all the fun and will leave a mark! The same is true for hail! Always best to choose a blue sky day to make a jump!
- Skydiving requires individuals to have some physical strength and flexibility.
- Individuals with pre-existing head, neck or back issues should consult with a physician before skydiving for the first time.
- Individuals with mobility issues may require a meeting with an instructor before the jump to review whether skydiving can be done safely based on an individual's abilities.
- The various elements of a skydive can cause discomfort between boarding, exiting, free falling, deployment and landing.
- Individuals with any kind of sinus pressure or nasal blockage should not skydive until condition clears.