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Bungee jumping is a recreational activity that involves jumping from a high surface while attached to an elastic cord. One end of this elastic cord is attached to the jumper’s body, while the other end is attached to a stationary object at the jumping point. Typically, this sport involves leaping from jumping points that are several hundred feet or meters high. The elastic cord used in this activity is designed to stretch during the jumper's fall and snap back up repeatedly. This causes the jumper to bounce up and down over the length of the jumping area until the energy from the jump has been depleted.
Though there is bodily risk inherent in jumping from very high places, millions of successful bungee jumps have been accomplished. Successful jumps can be attributed to the development of safety standards and the strict adherence to guidelines for jumping. Such guidelines include the diligent checking and double-checking of fittings for each jump.
Despite the best efforts of bungee operators to conform to safety standards, accidents do happen. Unfortunately, they often result in severe injury or death. A frequent cause of bungee jumping accidents is the use of an improperly long cord. Bungee cord should be much shorter than the height from with the jump takes place. A shorter cord allows room for necessary stretching during jumps.
Bungee jumping equipment includes the elastic cord, harnesses, and crane cages. Many bungee cords are factory-produced. However, they can be made at home as well. There are bungee harnesses made for the body and the legs, and cranes made for lowering jumpers quickly to the ground.
Jumping with a body harness allows the jumper to move around. The arms and legs are free to move with a body harness, and spins and flips are easier to accomplish. On the other hand, leg harnesses are said to offer a real feeling of flying and the best “rush.”
Many bungee jumping enthusiasts find jumping with leg harnesses elegant and thrilling. However, there have been quite a few disasters involving the accidental detachment of ankle harnesses. As a result, many commercial bungee operators require the use of body harnesses. In fact, some operators prefer to equip jumpers with both leg and body harnesses for extra safety.
It is possible to bungee jump using an arm harness. Arm harnesses are usually just leg harnesses that are used on the arms. Many consider bungee jumping with an arm harness a poor choice because of the risk of dislocating shoulders or otherwise injuring the upper body.