Paragliding is both a sport and a fun activity. It gives paragliders a great feeling of freedom in the open air. Do you wonder whether paragliding requires a certain level of physical fitness? Adrénaline Parapente can tell you more about paragliding and the physical requirements for practising it safely.
The physical requirements for paragliding
Before we talk about the physical requirements, it's worth remembering that you can paraglide anywhere, provided the flying conditions are right. There are, however, specific flying sites for this activity with a good take-off and landing strip, good relief and good views.
Paragliding is also an extreme sport that requires a certain amount of physical preparation to ensure safety. Paragliding involves a number of different movements that demand different parts of the body.
During take-off, control of the glider during flight and landing, certain parts of the body will be put to work:
- the legs
- the arms
- the trunk
- back muscles.
Good physical preparation and precise coordination are undoubtedly required to perform these movements safely. Paragliders need to be flexible and agile. Paragliders may also have to exert considerable effort, particularly in the arms, legs and trunk, to control the glider.
In addition, depending on the duration of the flight, you need to have a certain aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Good cardiorespiratory endurance is essential for enjoying a long paragliding flight. Muscular strength, flexibility and agility are good allies for paragliding in different flying conditions.
Risks associated with poor physical condition
The risks associated with inadequate physical condition apply equally to the paraglider, third parties and the environment.
Risks for the paraglider
When paragliding, a lack of physical fitness can increase the risks of this extreme sport. For example, low cardiorespiratory endurance can lead to errors of judgement, particularly in emergency situations.
Fatigue can reduce a paraglider's ability to react appropriately in an emergency, increasing the risk of an accident. Similarly, a lack of flexibility and agility can lead to poor glider manoeuvres, increasing the risk of injury in emergency situations.
Risks for others
A paraglider pilot in poor physical condition can unfortunately be detrimental to other people on the flying site. In the event of a poor manoeuvre, for example, the risks to third parties are not negligible. There could be mid-air collisions or accidents with people on the ground.
As far as the environment is concerned, poor piloting of a glider due to insufficient physical condition can cause a great deal of environmental damage. Uncontrolled flights can endanger wildlife and surrounding ecosystems. A bad landing, for example, can damage farmland, vegetation and sensitive areas.
Precautions to take before paragliding
Good physical preparation before taking up paragliding involves medical tests beforehand. It is recommended that you undergo medical tests to assess your physical condition. In practice, this means :
- cardiorespiratory tests
- muscular assessments
- flexibility assessments, etc.
These different medical examinations allow you to find out your physical capabilities so that you can adapt paragliding to your profile.
You should also determine your maximum weight for paragliding before taking the plunge. You can also prepare yourself physically for paragliding in the best possible conditions. It can be useful to follow a suitable physical training programme with cardiovascular exercises to improve endurance, for example. You can also include body-building exercises to increase strength and flexibility exercises to improve agility.
In addition, in the event of adverse weather conditions, you should take extra precautions before paragliding. In practice, you need to check the weather forecast beforehand, and respect the wind and thermal limits. It is also important to keep a constant watch on conditions during the flight. All these precautions prepare you as well as possible for any eventuality that could compromise your safety and that of others.