So I guess I need to do MORE diving! Check out this article from Jennifer Palmer on some great benefits from scuba diving!
"SCUBA diving is known as a thoroughly enjoyable and sometimes adrenaline boosting sport, however most do not know that SCUBA diving has many health benefits. Whether you have just started SCUBA diving or you are an experienced deep sea diver, SCUBA diving has numerous health benefits to offer everyone.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of SCUBA diving
- Gaining Strength and Flexibility
As you move throughout the water during the course of a dive, your muscles tend to work harder than they would if you were outside the water. This is due to the resistance of the water but also the current. The more you dive and swim, the more your muscles lengthen, build strength and develop endurance as well as flexibility. Scuba diving and swimming through the water can not only strengthen your legs it can also help to build up your core strength, which is important for a good overall posture in your everyday life.
Breathing whilst diving is slow and deep, which is essential when conserving and optimizing your air consumption. During a dive, you breathe in and tend to breathe out slower which reduces the heart rate, promoting calm. Steady breathing also reduces the risk of a lung-expansion injury as well as reduces mucus build up and has actually been known to help with existing conditions such as asthma.
- Can Lower Blood Pressure
When first diving into the water, a divers heart rate might spike and the blood pressure will rise slightly, this may be due to excitement, adrenaline and even the cold water. For the majority of dives, we usually find ourselves in water which is lower than our body temperature. When our body is immersed in cold water, our blood vessels on the surface of our bodies tend to constrict to conserve heat for our internal organs, which may cause our hearts to race. Once we warm up throughout the dive, our heart rate reduces as well as our blood pressure. The slow and deep breathing technique that we learn to do during our open water dive course can help lower your blood pressure and keep you calm throughout the dive. If however you suffer with high blood pressure, then seek the advice of a medical professional before attempting to scuba dive.
- Maintains and Increase Fitness Levels
Before we scuba dive, a diver should already have a good level of fitness so as to not exert the body too much throughout a dive which could put the diver at risk of DCS (Decompression Sickness). However, Scuba Diving can be quite unpredictable and because of this, you may find yourself swimming against the current for a short amount of time, this repetitive movement of the legs against the resistance of the water can help to maintain as well as increase your fitness levels (it is certainly better for you than sitting on the sofa watching TV)!
- Traveling To Warmer Climates
It is, of course possible to dive in colder climates, however usual dives include traveling to warmer parts of the world. With warmer parts of the world comes holiday, adventure, excitement and experiences, which can only do great things for your body, mind and soul.
- Healing Effects of the Water
The water has many healing effects, one of which is the way it brings you back to feeling like you are in your mother’s womb. This promotes feelings of security, well-being and happiness. In addition, being in salt water for long periods of time can cause your body to dehydrate meaning that you tend to drink a lot more after the dive which means that you are replenishing your cells, receiving all of the benefits of water both externally and internally.
- Interaction with Marine Life
When exploring the marine life surrounding you on your dive, your body is flooded with excitement, wonder and awe. Seeing the sheer variety of fish, corals and critters is enough to put anyone in a good mood. However, it has in fact been proven that seeing certain colours can affect the brain in many different ways. Seeing certain colours can help to change and improve your mood. Scientists believe that if we are subjected to bright and intense colours, similar to what we might find surrounding reefs, can help to promote feelings of happiness as well as feeling of being uplifted. In addition, the colour blue has been known to induce a calming effect on the body.
- Exposure To Sunlight
It is essential for the body to be exposed to sunlight, this is in order to create Vitamin D. Vitamin D not only helps the rate of absorption of calcium, it also helps the cells pass calcium to each other. This higher absorption rate of calcium helps to keep the bones healthy and strong. Exposure to sunlight also helps to increase endorphin production within our brains.
- Socializing Benefits
When you go diving, if you are not already diving with a partner, you are paired up with a buddy. These people are usually like-minded individuals who share a common interest. Whenever you are on a dive boat or diving from shore, it is always easy to make friends and meet new people. It is also very easy to feel a sense of community when scuba diving and often go out after your dives. It gives a wonderful feeling after having an incredible experience during a dive and being able to share it with your fellow divers.
- A Great Stress Reliever
When we breathe throughout a dive, we tend to breathe slowly and deeply, similar to the breathing we do whilst meditating. Slowed breathing induces a state of calm, whilst the diver enjoys their underwater surroundings. Everything that may be happening to the person in their everyday lives including; work issues, family issues and money worries all get left at the surface. All problems are forgotten during a dive. Having this ‘time out’ gives the body a chance to rest and bring their body and nervous system back to a natural balance. Studies have shown that having a relaxed and calm mind has been known to promote a positive mental attitude, helping you deal with your issues in a calm and rational way without feelings of depression."
Having worked with a large number of divers with injuries and/or disabilities, I observed first hand the benefits of scuba. I know it keeps me young! Why do you dive? - Jeff