How Did Felix Baumgartner’s Heart Cope in Record Jump?

When skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped 24 miles to the earth — and breaking world records and the sound barrier in the process — his heart rate and breathing rate was closely monitored to understand the particular stresses his body would endure. 

Some of the data being released is actually quite staggering, and reinforces the wonders of the human body.

“You could get a true picture of how his body was transforming, adapting and performing in comparison to the different stresses and strains he was going through,” said Anmol Sood, Chief Executive of Equivital, the company that provided the equipment that checked the sydiver’s vital signs during the jump. “Would that be breaking sound barrier at 833 miles per hour, or would that be going through launching and having the nervousness of preparing for that launch?”

Sood sat down with the BBC to talk about some of his company’s observations regarding the launch and the first third of the freefall. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Felix was carrying about 30 kilograms on his back
  • He experienced adrenaline rush, pressure to perform, and nervousness 
  • His heart rate during the launch phase averaged about 60 beats per minute as he was ascending from the ground. 
  • His breathing rate was about 12-14 beats per minute 
  • The average resting heart rate for a fit, healthy 43-year-old man would be about 60 beats per minute
  • His heart rate between on the first third of the jump was 160-180 beats per minute, including when he was spinning — about what a middle-aged man would get to during exercise.

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