Is Skydiving Like a Workout?

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Does skydiving burn calories? Is skydiving a workout? Yes and yes! The amount of calories burned skydiving means that the skydiver workout is a real thing. So, is skydiving a sport? It sure is! Regardless of how you define sport, skydiving fits the bill. There are many physical benefits of skydiving, and skydiving competitions exist for every skill level from amateur to pro. 

But does skydiving make you fit? Read on to learn all about the physical and emotional challenges and benefits of jumping out of airplanes. 

The Physical Workout of Skydiving

Many people imagine skydiving as a somewhat uncontrolled fall from an airplane to the Earth. In reality, skydiving is an activity that requires a certain level of physicality. Even when tandem skydiving you’re an active participant in every phase from airplane exit to landing.

You find yourself in a multitude of different positions throughout your tandem jump, some of which you may never have experienced before. The most important one is the arch you maintain during freefall, but you also squat, crawl, and lift your legs straight out in front of you like a traditional leg lift. You even need some upper arm strength to steer the parachute (if you want to give it a try).

WNY Skydiving jumpers celebrating after a physically demanding and fulfilling jump

A successful skydive is all about control, and maintaining stability puts your muscles to work. Moving around in the airplane, steering your body in the wind of freefall, and maneuvering the parachute are all mini workouts that combine to qualify as some pretty good exercise.

So next time someone asks the question, “What does skydiving do to your body?” you can tell them it’s a full-body workout! It exercises your legs, glutes, arms, and core. 

Equipment and Pre-Jump Activity as Exercise

How physically demanding is skydiving? To truly answer this question, we have to look beyond the time spent in the air. A lot more goes into a skydive than just getting into and out of an airplane. There’s gear to carry, jumps to practice, and stretching to do. 

Skydiving rigs can weigh anywhere from 20 to 50 lbs, and skydivers carry their rigs around on their backs for at least 10 to 15 minutes before each jump. Even putting on a jumpsuit includes some bending and stretching, and gathering the other pieces of gear like helmets and altimeters adds steps! 

Going through the jumps before boarding the plane is also a nice flow of movement that gets the blood pumping. Skydivers will often run through jump plans multiple times before the actual jump, bending, reaching, and walking. 

And don’t forget about stretching! It’s not all just muscles and toning. Some skydiving positions aren’t normal occurrences, so being flexible helps. Stretching in the morning or before each jump keeps skydivers limber and contributes to overall fitness. 

Mental and Emotional Benefits

Anyone who works out knows that the benefits of exercise extend far beyond the physical. So what does skydiving do for you mentally? This is actually where skydiving shines. Whether you go skydiving once or 1001 times, your life will be forever changed

The confidence boost that comes with overcoming the anxiety of jumping out of an airplane will last long after you land. Suddenly, everything else will seem easy! You’ll also notice that doing something as extreme as skydiving will train your brain to process stressful situations differently. Everything will slow down a little bit and you’ll feel more able to handle fear without panicking. 

And then there’s the euphoria. Much like traditional workouts, skydiving releases endorphins that cause a natural high. The big difference between what you get with skydiving and what you get with working out is that the skydiving endorphins are way stronger. Imagine how great you feel after working out, and then multiply it by 100!

How to Strike Skydiving Off Your Bucket List | WNY Skydiving

Comparing Skydiving to Conventional Workouts

It’s probably pretty obvious that skydiving is more exciting than a conventional workout. But how does it compare scientifically? There are ways to calculate how many calories are burned during non-traditional activities, and the Compendium of Physical Activities provides Metabolic Equivalents (MET) that include skydiving.

Skydiving has a MET of 3.5, so to determine the number of calories someone your size would burn during a skydive, you can use the following equation:

Calories burned per minute = (MET x body weight in Kg x 3.5) ÷ 200

Then compare that number to your routine workouts and see where you land! 

How intense is skydiving? There’s only one way to find out! Book your tandem skydive and see what your body and mind can do! 

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