Published: December 17, 2020
Being able to jump out of an aeroplane is an amazing thing, and is considered by a great many people to be an essential adventure they simply must do at some point. There is a lot to recommend it - the amazing views, the feelings of accomplishment, super cool people you meet along the way, the rewards of overcoming very natural fears and the memories you will treasure for a lifetime.
Gone are the days when leaping from a plane was a pretty risky thing to do. Many decades of advancements in both technique and equipment have made skydiving into an aerial playground and bona fide competitive sport, but despite the proven reliability and repeatability - when you go to jump your body decides automatically that it is for the best to put every system into super efficiency mode. Traditionally, the chemicals released by your body that do this are reserved for when you are under some kind of threat - like getting chased by a dinosaur. Science has allowed us to understand the ways that they work, the advantages they present and the idea that periodically utilizing them via doing exciting and challenging stuff is a good thing.
Endorphins are chemicals produced naturally by the nervous system to help us cope with pain or stress. They are often called 'feel-good' chemicals because they can act as a pain reliever and happiness booster. While your body may need endorphins during difficult times, finding ways to access them and receive the benefit by choice and a bit of effort can have a very positive effect.
Adrenaline is a hormone that is released by your body in response to a stressful, exciting, dangerous or threatening situation. It makes the heart beat faster, increases blood flow to the brain and muscles, and stimulates the body to react quicker.
Dopamine is made by your body to send messages between cells, and plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It plays a big part in our unique human ability to think and make plans, and it helps us to focus and find things interesting. Dopamine is something that you don't really notice until you have either too much or too little, but as with many bodily systems - using them is the best way to keep them healthy.
Serotonin is a hormone that influences our mood, feelings of well-being and happiness. It enables brain cells and other nervous system cells to communicate with each other, and helps with sleeping, eating and digestion. Serotonin is perhaps primarily thought of as influencing the brain, but the list of things affected by it is long.
People seek out many different types of excitement and adventure in order to access these beneficial natural chemicals in our bodies, but few things come close to the power of skydiving and the effect doing it even once can have on your life. When you are skydiving both your brain and your body get a workout - and the collective mental, spiritual and emotional benefits are rare to find in a single activity. Jumping is exciting, so your body starts to release these beneficial chemicals long before you get in the plane - and continue to course through your veins after you land. You become hyper aware of your surroundings, and operate both mentally and physically on a higher level than you do at any other time. Collected together, all the benefits of skydiving make it a truly unique and unrivalled way to look after yourself both body and mind.