How to breathe, and not breathe, while skydiving

Is it possible to breathe while skydiving? Absolutely!

In your quest for information, we know you’ve probably come across the term ‘breathtaking’ to describe skydiving more than once. While the experience is designed to “take your breath away,” we promise this isn’t a literal description. We mean it in a more metaphorical, in a leave-you-speechless-and-astounded kind of way.

Concern over breathing while skydiving is common, but it’s nothing to worry over. This writer can even attest that before her first skydive, she was perturbed by the idea of breathing while in freefall, but it turned out to be no big deal. If you’re worried over how to breathe while skydiving, we have you covered with some first-hand advice!

Keep reading for a few tips on how to breathe, and how not to breathe, during a skydive.

How to Breathe While Skydiving

A regular tandem skydive with Skydive Perris will take you to 12,500 feet above ground level (AGL). From this altitude, the air is slightly thinner, but for an average, healthy individual, breathing should pose no problem.

At Skydive Perris, we also offer High Altitude Low Opening Skydives (HALO), which reach heights of 16,500 feet AGL. At this height, the air is considerably thinner, and without assistance, it would be difficult to breathe. This is why, for HALO skydives, supplemental oxygen is required and provided during the ride to altitude.

When jumping from either altitude, the following suggestions will apply:

  • While in the plane, take slow, steady breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. This mindful breathing will not only ensure that you have a proper amount of oxygen to remain alert, but it will also help to keep you focused and calm.
  • Take a deep breath and let out a yell as you leave the aircraft. Intermittently, during freefall, if you start feeling like you cannot catch your breath, yell again! Although seemingly counterintuitive, the yell technique is pretty effective. After all, if you can yell, you can breathe.
  • In freefall, keep your head up and your eyes on the horizon. This allows you to take in the sights and helps the air to spill around you instead of having it rush into your nose and mouth.

A skydiver flies through the air.

How Not To Breathe While Skydiving

The thought of your first skydive can be overwhelming, but worries over breathing while skydiving don’t need to get you worked up. Below are two skydiving breathing mistakes to avoid:

  1. Do not intentionally hold your breath on a skydive. Not only would the experience of freefall be far less pleasant, but you want to ensure that you are alert, maintaining a good body position, and able to take instructions from your skydive instructor.
  2. Do not take quick, shallow breaths. If you breathe in this manner, you could induce hyperventilation. It’s better to take measured, conscious deep breaths. Even while everything is rushing by during freefall, you can still focus on your breathing.
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Can You Skydive With Asthma?

While we cannot offer medical advice — and encourage you to address any concerns over skydiving with asthma to your primary care physician — we can tell you that plenty of individuals with asthma participate in tandem skydives and many even go on to become licensed skydivers. As a general rule, ask your doctor about any specific health-related skydiving questions.

Once you’ve been given a clean bill of health, contact our dropzone and come check us out. Schedule your jump with Skydive Perris today!

Is It Hard To Breathe While Skydiving?

Is It Hard To Breathe While Skydiving?

Wondering about whether it is hard to breathe while skydiving is a perfectly normal thing to do. People are generally a bit anxious about flinging themselves out of an airplane in the first place, and when you add being really high up and falling really fast to the mental porridge it makes worrying about how to breathe while skydiving very common. Good news! You can breathe normally while skydiving, so you can stop worrying about it. It is worth breaking it down a bit though, so let’s investigate.


Air gets thinner the higher up you go, which means there is less oxygen in the same space. This is why commercial airliners are pressurized. These aircraft travel at over 30,000ft – which is high enough for the air to be too thin for humans to breathe. Skydiving generally happens from around half this height, which means that there is no requirement to take supplemental oxygen with you in the plane. The United States Parachute Association (USPA) rules state that up above 15’000ft you then need to have oxygen, as this is when the air becomes too thin for humans to function properly.

The air is a bit thinner up above 10’000ft where you will jump from, and if you were to hang around up there for ages you might start to notice, but is not a concern for skydivers – as you are not going to be up there for long at all. The goal is to jump out as soon as you arrive! Professional skydivers that jump all day long are proof that the thin air is perfectly fine for people. However, a good tip to remember that many pros practice is to take a few nice deep breaths before you go – not for the O2 but because it has a nice settling and readying feel to it.


Another effect of the air getting thinner is it cools down. It varies, but generally, you lose a few degrees for every 1000ft you go up – which means it can be warm on the ground and a bit nippy at jumping altitude. The same things generally apply here – it is not cold enough to be a problem and you are not hanging around up there anyway. The fact that it gets cooler also kind of adds to the excitement – as an additional sensory reminder that you are approaching the edges of your comfort zone and about to do something spectacular.

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Skydiving Weather


Sensory overload is a real thing that happens to people when there is a lot going on. Our brains have a maximum amount of factors they can process at the same time, which means it will prioritize things automatically without you really thinking about what. Skydiving is a lot of things – it is beautiful and amazing and thrilling and challenging all at the same time, which can cause you to become momentarily stupefied with how good it is when you jump for the first time. Yes, for a moment you might forget to breathe right when you jump. No, it is not a problem. For many, exiting is the best part and the first one is something you will never forget. In just a couple of seconds, you will understand that your brain actually works very well in freefall, and that you are breathing again normally without thinking about it.

You can breathe perfectly fine while skydiving and it is nothing to worry about. The things listed above are just minor considerations, but also represent the first step on the path to learning about the amazing sport of skydiving. Don’t hesitate to come and join us – we are happy to answer any and all of the questions rattling around in your head about what we do. We want everyone to experience how life-enhancing skydiving can be, and we hope to see you soon!

Can You Breathe While Skydiving?

The view from above on your first tandem skydive is breathtaking, but not literally! One of the most frequent questions from first-time skydivers is can you breathe in freefall? The answer is yes! Many tandem jumpers comment on not being able to breathe when exiting the airplane, but it’s a mind trick that you can easily overcome.

We can see why the common misconception persists about not being able to breathe when you are flying at 120 miles per hour. Science disproves the myth along with the thousands of skydivers out there breathing while jumping daily. What is really going on for first-time jumpers is a sensory and chemical overload to your brain. You can breathe just fine in free fall because the rush is all in your head. With the three tips below you can easily overcome the sensation of not being able to breathe.

1. Be Mindful Of Your Breath

If you have ever tried yoga or meditation, you will be familiar with connecting your mind and breath. If ever there is a time to be mindful it is when you are skydiving! Being focused and intentional at the moment when you are ready to make that leap into the sky is the best way to experience flying free and taking in the view. There is truth to having less oxygen available when you are at higher altitudes, but there is still plenty for you to breathe. If you are into facts, there is 40% less oxygen in the atmosphere than at ground level. The best way to combat the “thinner” air is to breathe more deeply. Rather than shallow inhales, try to fill up every nook and cranny of your lungs. The more thought you put into your breathing, the easier it will be.

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Can You Breathe While Skydiving? | Skydive Orange

2. Scream Like You Mean It!

Freefall is a big head rush. Your mind and body are in sensory overload, and sometimes your brain can’t manage all the input, and you forget to breathe. Remember that mindfulness about connecting your breath with your mind and body? Take a deep mindful breath right as you get up to the door to make that leap. Screaming on your exit from the plane is a great way to express the elation of flying, and it also helps you get a deep breath before and after you are finished screaming your head off! If you can exhale to scream, you’re definitely able to inhale and breathe. It’s really pretty simple when you think about it.

3. Mind Over Matter

You are probably reading about being able to breathe during skydiving because you are considering taking your first jump. Think back to the very moment you decided skydiving sounded like something you wanted to try. Your brain is capable of putting your wildest dreams into action. The mind over matter process that allows you to overcome your fear of stepping outside your boundaries will also remind you to take a deep breath when you exit that plane.

Here are a few interesting facts. In the United States, there are around 40,000 active skydivers, making roughly 3.3 million jumps per year. For those who pursue the sport of skydiving, freefall becomes a second home. If you think about these statistics, it’s hard to imagine that so many people would willingly subject themselves to jump after jump if it were actually impossible to breathe in freefall. When it comes to breathing in freefall, the trick is mind over matter and being focused in the moment.

Take a deep breath and jump into the excitement – book your tandem skydive with Skydive Orange today!




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