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Be the Reason for a Safety Brief - Adventure Sports for Veterans

June 20, 2024
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Adventure sports provide a unique opportunity for veterans to harness their physical prowess, mental resilience, and love for adrenaline-pumping activities. Engaging in these sports can offer therapeutic benefits, promote camaraderie, and reignite the sense of adventure that many veterans miss after their service. If all that makes you feel like a nerd, it’s also a great way to burn some calories to make room for whiskey (*punches something*). Here are a few examples of adventure sports that are particularly well-suited for veterans.

Scuba Diving

Exploring the underwater world through scuba diving offers a peaceful and immersive experience that contrasts sharply with the intensity of military service, offering low impact, near weightless physical training... While at the same time wearing out even those in good physical condition. Breathing under multiple atmospheres of pressure and making frequent course corrections will work muscles in your body you didn’t even know you had, yet when you’re in the water you remain relaxed and serene. Organizations like Dive Warriors and Warfighter Scuba cater specifically to veterans, providing training and certification opportunities. Scuba diving can also help veterans develop new skills, build confidence, and connect with a community of fellow divers. Check out Warfighter SCUBA


Does scuba sound great, but the chance of dying just isn’t high enough? Try jumping out of a perfectly functional aircraft! Skydiving is often seen as the ultimate adrenaline rush, which for veterans can be both a thrilling and therapeutic experience. The freefall and subsequent glide under the parachute can mimic the feeling of combat jumps, while also providing a controlled environment to enjoy the exhilaration of flight. The focus required during a skydive can help veterans with PTSD or anxiety, as it necessitates being fully present in the moment. Many skydiving centers offer programs specifically for veterans, recognizing the unique benefits this sport can provide.

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing challenges both the body and mind, making it an ideal sport for veterans looking to test their limits. The sport demands physical strength, mental acuity, and problem-solving skills; qualities that many veterans already possess. Climbing can be done indoors at climbing gyms or outdoors on natural rock formations, but be sure proper safety measures are observed. Falling is one thing, but falling in a crevice and having to cut your own arm off is another. The camaraderie and teamwork involved in climbing, as well as the sense of achievement that comes with reaching new peaks can scratch the adventure itch, and programs like Climbing for Change offer support and resources for veterans interested in rock climbing.

Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting combines the thrill of navigating rapids with the challenges of working as a team. This sport can be particularly appealing to veterans who miss the sense of teamwork and unity found in the military. The physical demands and adrenaline rush of rafting through turbulent waters can provide a satisfying outlet for energy and stress, and as long as you keep your melon off of any obstacles and wear your safety gear, the risk of death is reasonable. Many rafting companies offer veteran-specific trips, ensuring a supportive and understanding environment for those who have served.

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking offers a dynamic and exhilarating way to explore the great outdoors. For veterans, the sport provides a perfect blend of physical challenge, mental focus, and the freedom to roam through varied terrain. The sport can be tailored to different skill levels, from leisurely trails to intense downhill courses. Mountain biking promotes cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles, and improves balance and coordination. Organizations like Wounded Warrior Project and Ride 2 Recovery offer programs that provide bikes, training, and support for veterans interested in mountain biking.

For veterans seeking excitement, challenge, and a sense of camaraderie, adventure sports offer an ideal outlet. Scuba diving, skydiving, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and mountain biking each provide unique benefits that cater to the skills and needs of those who have served. Beyond the thrill, these sports offer therapeutic value, promoting physical health, mental well-being, and social connection. Embracing these adventures can help veterans to transition smoothly into civilian life, finding new purpose and passion along the way. If nothing else, they can help keep you in shape now that you don’t have to get up for PT at 0500 every day.

Featured image: (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Christopher Hall)

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