Read my original post here on Skydive OC’s Make it Count Monday!
Being in the skydive industry, you hear it a lot: How old do I have to be to go skydiving? (For the record, the answer is usually 18 years old). But recently I was asked the opposite end of the question… How old is too old to go skydiving?
At first I laughed at the question… I guess, in my mind, I’m never going to be too old to do anything (except maybe ride in the racecar shopping carts at the grocery store, but that’s moreso because I don’t fit, and not because I’m too old!). However, the reality of it is that most people do not take care of themselves now to experience a full life later.
Let me put this another way, I run marathons and endurance runs – it’s not for everyone, but it’s what I love to do – so people often ask me what I’m training for… regardless of what runs, races or events I have on the horizon, my answer never changes. I’m training for life. There is a lot of life to experience and our bodies are our vehicles to take us on this journey. Think about it: we’ve all been car shopping, right? Everyone has their preferences, models, features, and so on. You find the right vehicle, the one you fall in love with and is just the right fit… Over the years, you take care of it, perform routine maintenance, keep it tidy and in working condition. Eventually, as time passes you might find defects, or it loses its luster. For any number of reasons, you find yourself back at square one car shopping again for the next new model, the upgraded features, the faster, sportier, better gas mileage version and you start the cycle again. But what if there was no upgrading? No turning it in for the new version? What if what you originally purchased was what you were forced to drive for life? FOR LIFE! Ladies and gentlemen, newsflash: THAT IS YOUR BODY!
We skate through life often without thinking about the preventative maintenance on our bodies, the daily little things that are all but required to make us function better, not just today, but overtime. Think about how you are fueling that vehicle: Are you pumping it with high quality petrol to make it run nice and smoothly? Or are you constantly running on empty and then shoving sludge in the gas tank hoping for a little gusto? Are you the well oiled machine that is run regularly? Or are you the rusty beater that’s been sitting in a lot or a field too long and struggles to start, if at all? You ride around in his vehicle of a body twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, from the time you start kicking until the time you, well, kick it…
So back to the question at hand… How old is too old to skydive? Well, there isn’t one answer to satisfy the board. Personally, I’ve seen people skydive in their sixties, seventies, eighties and YES even in their nineties! 92 to be exact! It really doesn’t matter how old you are, it matters how well you feel and move and ultimately, the professionals (Tandem Instructors, DZO’s and DZM’s) are going to have your safety in mind while still helping you accomplish this bucket list goal.
At Skydive OC, Drop Zone Owner Jeanice Dolan has a few rules up her sleeve that have helped people who are perhaps more young at heart than young in years. Firstly, from a protection standpoint, jumpsuits are going to protect the skin and enhance the experience from climbing in the plane, to the exit and especially the landing. Skydive OC supplies jumpsuits to its students, so just sit back and consider it part of the experience!
Secondly, you may be asked to complete a simple “jump test.” Being able to jump from a small height (think off a step, or a picnic table) and be physically fit enough to withstand the landing, you’re going to be in great shape. You don’t have to stick the landing, leave that to the professionals!
Finally, there’s a little flexibility required to get hooked up in a smaller plane, scoot your way to the front of the plane, and get at least part of your body out of the door in order to jump. You don’t need to touch your toes and do a cartwheel, but the experience is going to be more pleasant when there’s more range of motion in your body.
Now, no one is asking you to start training tomorrow in order to make your first skydive, but what if you did start training today to enjoy life a little more fully? Where are you going to be when you are seventy four years old and beyond? I have a good idea where I’m going to be!