Effective Breathing Tips While Skydiving

Effective Breathing Tips While Skydiving

Published: March 31, 2022

If you're thinking about taking the leap, you probably have a lot of questions. Maybe you've heard about what skydiving is like from experiences your friends and family have had. Most likely they loved it and can't wait to go again (maybe go together?!), or maybe they're in the one-and-done category and are happy they did it. Regardless, they definitely have a lot to say about their jump, perhaps including - "During freefall, I felt like I couldn't breathe!" Well, that would give anyone pause!

There are many misconceptions surrounding our sport, like that it is hard to breathe while skydiving. So, now you're wondering: Can you breathe while skydiving? Is it more difficult to breathe when you're that high up than it is on the ground? Good news: there is PLENTY of oxygen available to you during your entire skydive. Even at 10,000 feet up, there is way more air than you need to breathe. But if that's the case, then why do some people report having a hard time breathing while skydiving? Let's get into the ins and outs of breathing while skydiving!

Breathing Tips While Skydiving

Fight or Flight

If there is enough oxygen up there, then why can it feel difficult to breathe on a skydive? The answer lies within our nervous system.

Fear. Excitement. Anxiety. All of these feelings are extremely common in people who are skydiving for the first time! Jumping out of a plane isn't exactly the most natural experience, so it makes sense that our bodies could perceive falling towards Earth at a high rate of speed as a danger.

When a threat is detected, our brains act accordingly and produce a physiological reaction called "fight or flight". This can show up as dilated pupils, increased blood flow to your muscles, and rapid breathing and heart rate. Your brain is hardwired to protect you ... so what can you do about it? Keep reading for some tried-and-true tips on how to breathe while skydiving.

Mindset Matters

You've probably heard the phrase "mind over matter" before. We know ... it's easier said than done. It's hard to overcome your body's built-in responses. But by accepting that you're feeling excited, scared and overwhelmed, you can actually help to reduce any negative sensations that you might feel.

Understanding how you're feeling and why you're feeling that way can help your brain and body to cope with the stress and excitement. Like so many things in life, your mindset matters. Be prepared to feel nervous, acknowledge that any fear and excitement you are feeling is completely normal (you're jumping out of a plane!), and then overcome those fears by letting yourself fully enjoy the experience.

Skydiving experience

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Holding your breath when confronted with an intense or overwhelming situation is a very common way for our bodies to respond to excitement and anxiety. This response is what can cause people to subconsciously hold their breath during their skydives.

If you feel like you're having a difficult time catching your breath, try consciously focusing on your breathing. Take a big breath in through your nose, and then let out a long exhale through your mouth. Then keep repeating-in through your nose, out through your mouth. This breathing technique will help to promote relaxation and calm your nerves. It will also keep you from holding your breath!

Scream It Out

Whether you're having a hard time breathing or not, feel free to let out a good scream! It probably feels natural in the moment anyway, so just let it rip. We promise that your instructor won't judge you; in fact, at the speed you're falling (120+ mph), they most likely won't even be able to hear you.

Aside from it being totally fun to yell at the top of your lungs, there is actually science behind why this will help you. When you scream, you're exhaling the oxygen from your lungs, which then forces you to take a giant inhale to replace that oxygen. Screaming can also be an effective way to take the edge off of any building anxiety you might be feeling.

Breathe Easy

In the same way you can breathe on a speed boat or in your car with the windows open, you can breathe on your skydive. But if you find yourself trying to catch your breath, just remember that it's due to excitement and stress - not a lack of oxygen. Try to relax by accepting that this is a natural response to something new, and let yourself enjoy the moment. Consciously focus on your breathing and give yourself permission (as if you need it) to let out a big ol' roar!

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