Extreme Fitness with BASE Jumping

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Introduction

Like skydiving, BASE jumping is an adrenaline rush sport, and among extreme sports, it is one of the most exciting and most risky. With proper preparation and training, BASE jumping is a great sport that can be enjoyed in both urban and country settings. As it is with a lot of extreme sport thrill seekers, BASE jumpers worldwide enjoy the challenge, exhilaration and sense of freedom they get while flying toward their targets. The sport of BASE jumping continues to grow to new heights as many people are driven by an almost primal instinct to want to fly. From jumping off of buildings with a parachute to flying like a bird in a wingsuit, BASE jumping enthusiasts can’t seem to get enough. BASE jump your way to fitness if you’re seeking something different to amp up your run-of-mill workout.

Behind BASE

Typically, as long as you have a parachute of some type, BASE jumping can happen from any highly elevated and fixed object. A 1978 film-maker by the name of Carl Boenish was the first to refer to the jumping sport as BASE, which is an acronym for:

  • Building
  • Antenna (an uninhabited tower such as an aerial mast)
  • Span (a bridge, arch or dome)
  • Earth (a cliff or other natural formation)1

The idea is that a BASE jumper can leap and fly from any one of these types of fixed objects in an urban or rural setting. Nevertheless, similar recorded jumps have been occurring since the 1900s. BASE jumping was not recognized as a recreational activity or sport until Boenish entered the scene. He continued to promote BASE jumping as a sport, primarily through films and magazines, until his untimely death in Norway in 1984 during a cliff jump.1 Since that time, BASE jumping, including wingsuit flying, has burgeoned as an extreme sport.

Material Matters

BASE jumping may have started with the influence of skydiving and stunt jumping, but today it has taken off to a whole new level. The sport is unlimited with the abundant availability of fixed object resources around the world. However, a new and unusual factor has been added that is influencing all types of sports, and that is new materials from the textile industry. First parachutes were better designed as creators began to utilize better material available, but now as even more innovative synthetic materials are created, amazing things are happening when it comes to physics and sports. After a lot of failed and unfortunately fatal attempts by many at developing a wingsuit, at last in 1998, Birdman, Inc. came out with a reliable wingsuit design that would be sold to athletes.2 Since then, wingsuit flying, a form of BASE jumping, became the newest trend in BASE jumping for those seeking the most extreme sports.

Flying Fitness

Don’t give up your regular workout routine to become a BASE jumper. Staying in shape will help you when it comes to soaring off of things, mostly because your body needs to be fit so that it can deal with jumping and high altitudes, and often times the hiking and other demanding things required. For instance, people paraglide from the summit of a mountain near where I live, but first they have to hike and carry their equipment to the top. So, it’s important to be prepared for the strenuous activity often involved with BASE jumping. Don’t wait until you start BASE jumping in hopes of getting in shape at that point—prepare first. You also need to be fit so that you naturally have quicker reaction and reflex time. Any kind of sport where you have to respond and move quickly is good practice for BASE jumping, such as basketball or tennis. Practicing martial arts like tai chi is also a good way to maintain control over your body and promote your awareness of your environment. Base jump your way to fitness, and allow your love of the sport to motivate you towards your personal best physically, mentally and spiritually.

Train to Fly

Besides maintaining your fitness, though, for BASE jumping, it’s smart to get some type of real training. First of all, it’s a good idea to obtain skydiving certification; although, some just go with unofficial BASE jumping lessons. Find a guru, though, and learn as much as you can about BASE jumping before you try it. Now wingsuit flying lessons are also available via skydiving schools.3 Just make sure you’re dealing with a reputable school. Keep in mind that BASE jumping, with or without professional lessons, is still illegal in most places. Also, remember to get permissions from property owners before utilizing their fixed objects, e.g., buildings and antennas, for jumping.

Airborne Safety

It’s so important to keep in mind that BASE jumping, including wingsuit flying, is probably the most dangerous type of extreme sports. See your doctor and have a physical before embarking on any extreme sport adventure. Make sure your eye health is good too. Preparation is crucial. Do the necessary research, get needed training and take the right precautions before you take the leap.

References

1ZOLUM: eXtreme Sports Only - https://www.zolum.com/

2Village of Joy: Most dangerous sport in the world: Wingsuit flying - https://villageofjoy.com/most-amazing-sport-in-the-world-wingsuit-flying/

3Skydive Orange - https://www.skydiveorange.com/birdman.htm