Mind, Body & Scuba – Health Benefits of Diving
As you may know, Scuba diving is a fun and enjoyable hobby. But did you know scuba diving also benefits your health? OK, so you’re not going to become an Olympic athlete overnight having just completed yourOpen Water course but scuba can improve your general wellbeing.
Being a keen scuba diver doesn’t mean you will be running round and doing press-ups wearing a full set of scuba equipment, but just going bubbling around a dive site for 45 minutes is good for you! Whether you’re about to take your first PADI beginners course or if you are an experienced Divemaster, you can all gain the benefits for your body, mind and soul by spending time in the ocean blowing bubbles.
Physical Fitness – Swim For The Burn
Diving regularly will help improve your stamina, general fitness and burn calories. We are able to burn up to 500 calories an hour when diving. Swimming is a great aerobic exercise with water giving resistance to our fin strokes ensuring those calories are burnt, as well as helping to tone the muscles in your legs and bum.
The great thing about this is that you aren’t hot, sweaty or out of breath as you cruise around the dive site enjoying the marine life. You don’t even realise that you are conducting a “workout”. And another positive – as scuba diving doesn’t involve impacts like running – it also helps reduce strain on your knees and ankles.
During a dive your muscles will require more oxygen as your blood vessels enlarges to help the flow of blood reach tired muscles. This also lowers your blood pressure which in turn curtails the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Strength – Pumping Tanks
Carrying the equipment, which weighs around 20kg with a full cylinder and weight belt, will help tone the muscles in your back and legs in order to support the weight. Increasing muscle mass and tone in your back will help reduce back problems in the future as pressure on the spine is reduced. Maintaining your body position and buoyancy on the dive will help strengthen your core and abdominal muscles helping improve your body posture.
The more you dive the better your air consumption will become too. This is partly due to increasing your muscle strength which helps you maintain your trim and buoyancy while diving.
Stress Relief – Become One With The Fish
Scuba Diving helps improve your emotional state. This is a similar affect to why people have aquariums or fish tanks in their house, it helps you to relax. Once you have perfected your buoyancy, calmed your breathing rate and improved your air consumption you will feel calm and find inner peace. As you concentrate on moving around the dive site focusing on the aquatic realm you will forget about your day to day problems.
Some people say the soothing effect of scuba diving is the same as meditating – with no sound other than the sound of your own breath and the only fish to look at.
Warm Climate – Swap Your Jumpers for Board Shorts and Bikinis
Although you can scuba dive in most countries, lots of divers head to warm water destinations, where the weather is warm and sun is shining. Places such as Koh Tao, Thailand provide excellent dive sites but also warm water temperature – 26°c to 29°c year round as more often than not the sun is out. This enables you to get a healthy dose of vitamin D, empowers your body to absorb calcium and strengthen your bones.
Travelling will also help to relieve stress as you leave your day job for a bit of adventure, excitement and island life, well away from the rat race.
Social Health – Laughter Makes You Live Longer
Travelling to far away islands in the sun to go diving will have you meeting likeminded people who are also part of the sub culture and become good friends. A person who starts off as a random dive buddy could turn out to be a lifelong friend, sharing common interests and scuba memories as well as excitement & adventure, both above and below the water.
During your open water course you will be taught to always dive with a buddy and stay close underwater giving you the opportunity to meet new friends from very beginning of your scuba life. Having that feel good factor that scuba diving brings as you experience the effects of weightlessness and swim with amazing creatures such as Whale Sharks will make you feel like a child again as the stress falls away into the deep blue.
Author: Neil Davidson (PADI MSDT #294100)