What are the health benefits of scuba diving?
Every diver has their reasons as to why they scuba dive, but the health benefits are there too. Maybe most want to see and experience amazing marine life and wrecks, create new memories with friends and family and travel to new places for vacation. But we rarely talk about the health benefits of scuba diving.
In fact, scuba diving and the healing effects of water, may provide many health benefits, such as; improved cardiovascular fitness, reduced stress levels, and improved social life. We have listed and discussed 6 health benefits of scuba diving.
Improved cardiovascular fitness.
It goes without saying that scuba diving is a relaxed sport, where you kick and glide over a reef or through a wreck or along a wall. Your breathing and air consumption will determine how long you dive for.
The day could consist of just one or multiple dives and with dives up to 60 minutes in duration, that can add up to a lot of kicking! With this in mind, regular participation in scuba diving may improve our cardiovascular fitness as diving is often compared to giving the same benefits as that of swimming. In addition, improved sleep, weight management and reduced blood pressure may also occur.
If you are the type of person who monitors their fitness stats during such activities as; hiking, biking and working out to name but a few. You may be interested that some dive computers can monitor your stats for these activities, as well as all of the features of a dive computer. The Garmin Descent Mk2 dive computer as well as the Apple Watch Ultra are examples of dive computers that will show how your health improves with each dive.
Increased muscle strength and endurance.
When we are diving, we are kicking against the force of water, even possibly a current. Continuously using our legs may provide increased muscle strength and endurance to our lower body.
Carrying the gear requires strength of the entire body. This is particularly true when shore diving. The added distance of carrying your gear from the setup point to the water’s edge and possibly up and down steps, through the surf, and possible long surface swims all add to increased muscle strength and endurance.
When boat diving, getting off the boat is easy with a giant stride, but getting back onto the boat requires upper body strength. Climbing that ladder while wearing all of the gear and going from a weightless environment to then gravity can suddenly feel very heavy.
Reduced stress levels and improved mental health.
Another benefit is the relaxed mental state that diving can provide. Breathing slowly and deeply is important for our breathing air consumption, and by doing so our body may feel relaxed. Breathing in this way can act as a form of meditation and reduce stress levels. Diving also gives us the opportunity to escape the stresses of the top side world and we allow ourselves a “time out”, especially, from our phones.
The most relaxing type of diving is drift diving, where you spend the dive going with the current.
Therapeutic benefits for physical and psychological injuries.
For some of us, just to see and hear the ocean sends a sense of calm through our entire mind and body. Then when we submerge and immerse ourselves, diving gives us a further sense of healing.
We know that scuba diving can provide the feeling of weightlessness. This is also important for those with injuries and disabilities. Once underwater, possible restrictions faced on land can disappear, in addition to the other health benefits we are discussing. Scuba diving is a sport enjoyed by all! Take a specialty dive course to learn how to be a better buddy for those with disabilities. There are several organizations and diving agencies to choose from.
Euphoria with marine life encounters.
Just like spending time with our pets can reduce stress and give us a feeling of contentment. Although scuba divers enjoy a no touch encounter with marine life they still have feelings of euphoria. This is one of the reasons we dive; to see and experience amazing marine life big and small.
Other feelings may include; anticipation of what you may see on the dive and the excitement after the dive of what you experienced. Divers fortunate to experience a once-in-a-lifetime moment will remain with you forever; such moments as seeing your first manta ray or seahorse. For those lasting memories when you are back home dreaming of scuba diving, you may want to purchase an underwater camera.
Improved social life and being part of a community.
Scuba diving is a social activity and you will create new friendships with those who share a common interest. If diving from a boat you meet and talk with other divers. You strike up a conversation: where are you from, what is your favorite dive site, what is your favorite fish and what do you hope to see on this dive?
Then, after the dive there is the excited chatter about the dive and what you saw. If staying at a resort, at the end of the day, you may spend time with the divers you met earlier. Check with your local dive centre to see if they organise dive trips and get to know people from your local area.
You already knew scuba diving is an amazing sport, and now you have additional reasons to go diving! What better reason than to get together with friends or family and explore new dive sites or vacations and marine life. At the same time, your mind, body and soul are benefiting from many health aspects, including improved cardiovascular fitness, improved strength and endurance and reduced stress levels.