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Safety Tips For Adventure Sports

Posted: August 17, 2010

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Indian women are avidly discovering the world of adventure sports. Take the plunge, but do it safely – here’s how.

By Suganya Lakshmi

In the last few years, the number of Indian women who dare to jump off a plane (attached to a string of course!), go white water rafting or bungee jumping has risen rapidly. There are even boutique travel agencies that come up with adventure holidays specifically for women.

While media attention on adventure sports often focuses on dramatic tragedies, extreme sports are not simply reckless or dangerous pursuits. When practiced within reasonable limits and exercising caution, they can be fun, challenging and provide you with unforgettable memories.

Ankita John, a college student was first introduced to sky-diving by her uncle while on holiday in New Zealand. Although hesitant at first, she says she was glad she decided to take the plunge because in the end, it was an experience of a lifetime. With her uncle, an avid sportsman, she browsed various articles online and in the library and equipped herself with the right safety gear before heading off for the jump.

By reading up on the sport they wish to attempt and buying or renting the necessary safety gear, individuals can ensure that their endeavor will be remembered but for only the right reasons.

The most common injuries from adventure sports results from individuals being poorly informed on the sport or failing to take the necessary safety precautions before embarking on their sport. By reading up on the sport they wish to attempt and buying or renting the necessary safety gear, individuals can ensure that their endeavour will be remembered but for only the right reasons.

Choosing the right adventure sport 

“Before participating in any form of physical activity, we advise patients to undergo a full medical examination,” says Dr.Poongothai, a practicing doctor at Apollo Hospitals Chennai with over 25 years of experience in the medical field. “With any form of sports there is a risk for injury but with extreme sports the risk is higher. Patients who suffer from diabetes, heart problems or blood pressure are advised against participating in such extreme activities since the increase in heart rate can sometimes prove fatal.”

A complete medical check-up is necessary for all newcomers to adventure sports. This will help determine if you are fit enough to continue your pursuit. Inform your doctor about the sport you wish to participate in and the conditions you may encounter in that setting (high altitude, extreme weather conditions and such).

If you want a thrilling experience but are not quite sure about which sport to choose, research the different types of adventure sports available and find the one which best suits you in terms of location, budget, type (air, land or water) and measure of risk. You can do this by checking out various online forums and websites dedicated to adventure sports and travel. With online forums, you can speak to people who have already participated in these sports and get first-hand advice.

Finding adventure sports operators

Once you have determined the type of adventure sport you want to try, the next step is to find the right provider to guide you. Opting for a Government-recognized agency minimizes the risks involved. The Adventure Operators Association of India works towards promoting adventure sports in India. The website offers a list of providers approved by the association to help you begin your adventure sports journey as well as other useful pointers and tips to keep in mind before embarking on adventure holidays. Shop around and choose an adventure sports provider based on the different packages on offer.

If possible, speak to people who have already used the provider on their experiences or read reviews online; if necessary ask to verify the documents of the agency to ensure that they are genuine. Several adventure sports providers often offer a free lesson beforehand, take advantage of this. A free lesson will not only prepare you for the sport, you will also be able to establish if the instructor is good enough for you. If in doubt, keep looking, the odds of finding an adventure sports provider you are comfortable with are high.

More safety tips for your adventure holiday

Safety gear is another factor which should be considered before participating in adventure sports. Life jackets, helmets, padding are all extremely important. Do not try to cut costs when you invest in these. There are several places where you will be able to rent high-quality safety equipment as well, if you are sure that you will not need the equipment again. Regardless of whether you decide to buy or rent, always ensure that you have all the correct safety gear in good condition and know how to operate them.

Regardless of whether you decide to buy or rent, always ensure that you have all the correct safety gear in good condition and know how to operate them.

Also, do not forget to consider natural factors before embarking on your adventure holiday. Avoid any type of adventure holiday during the monsoons. Wear appropriate clothing and avoid wearing jewelry or other accessories. As with most sports, a proper warm up and stretching is important to loosen your muscles and joints before starting.

Finally, never try to participate in adventure sports alone – join a group or at the very least get a partner. You will be able to support each other and get help immediately should the need arise.

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