Lovelorn Brits find the thrill of a first date as adrenaline inducing as jumping out of a plane, according to scientific research.
A University of Wolverhampton study in partnership with Bear Grylls Adventure found that the average heart rate while indoor skydiving was 111 BPM, almost identical to that of a blind date experience, 106 BPM - proving that the excitement of a romantic encounter is the same as freefalling.
The research by the University's School of Biomedical Science and Physiology put participants through a number of thrilling experiences including indoor skydiving, a zip wire course, and a first date while wearing heart rate monitors to measure pulse fluctuations.
In support, a survey of 2,000 UK adults found more than half (54%) of Brits consider going on a first date a thrilling experience, and 1 in 6 confessed to enjoying the rush of the initial encounter.
The survey of the nation’s daters also found a third of Brits had considered leaving or not turning up to a date due to nerves, and 45% have stuttered and lost their trail of thought.
1 in 10 admit to telling white lies during a date due to nerves, while 1 in 3 have turned red with embarrassment.
78% of Brits said they found first date nerves endearing in a partner.
Surprisingly, women are more awkward than men when dating, with two thirds admitting that nerves get the better of them before a first date, compared to a fifth of men who feel relaxed and confident.
Bear Grylls said: “First dates sure are a thrilling experience, the fear of the unknown in any circumstance gets the heart racing, and the heart rate monitor research backs this up. Facing our fears is the only way to conquer them, with heart rates falling the more we undertake the different challenges, as we know what to expect and we have overcome the initial leap.
“The Bear Grylls Adventure has been designed to encourage people to test their boundaries, overcome their fears and experience some of the world’s most thrilling experiences all in one place.”
Dr Martin Khechara, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “It’s no surprise to see heart rates spike before undertaking thrilling experiences and extreme sports, however it is a surprise to see dating, among the top thrills. Perhaps those that go on a blind date this February are braver than we initially thought.
“When approaching a nerve-racking experience, our bodies usually experience a ‘fight or flight’ response, whereby we notice a rapid increase in heart rate due to an adrenaline rush. Once the initial thrill has taken place, heart rates start to steady, and this is when we get a chance to enjoy and improve our skydiving and even dating skills.”
The adventure park which opens in Birmingham in 2018 will replicate some of Bear Gryll’s most incredible adventures, including skydiving, rock climbing, military ropes course and diving.