Sooo...I remember when I was Immortal...I could eat anything, think about working out and lose weight... Man, those were the days! Now, I have to work harder and think about how it might effect my habit regarding my passion, diving. Here are some thoughts and guidlines from Divers Alert Network (DAN):
Proper medical and physical fitness are important when it comes to risk management, but they may also reduce a diver’s risk of decompression sickness (DCS). Although definitive data are limited, maintaining a high level of physical fitness and progressively diving more conservatively as fitness level declines makes common sense. It’s important for all divers to seek regular, objective evaluation of their capabilities and to adapt their dive practices accordingly.
Physical Fitness Guidelines
Aerobics and strength training help maintain or improve health and dive readiness. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least two and a half hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise to achieve health benefits, and five hours a week to achieve additional fitness benefits. Strength training at least two days a week is also recommended.
Among the benefits of regular aerobic exercise is that it increases cardiac reserve, which is the difference between the rate at which the heart pumps blood at rest and its maximum capacity. An increase in this reserve may make it easier to meet the physical demands of dive activity and stress. Blood values of cholesterol can improve, reducing susceptibility to heart disease. Insulin sensitivity can improve, reducing the risk of developing diabetes. While data specific to diving are much more preliminary, there is also some evidence that higher levels of aerobic fitness may contribute to a reduced decompression stress.
As We Age
Being fit can improve quality of life, but the capacity for aerobic exercise declines by about one percent per year after age 30. This natural decline results from a gradual loss of muscle mass and a reduction in the metabolic activity of aging muscle. The rate can be slowed and the reserve range broadened by adopting healthy lifestyles as early as possible. Although you can’t achieve the same maximum aerobic capacity later in life that you had in your youth, you can adjust your targets accordingly to maintain your health.
Here’s To a Long Dive Life
The level of physical fitness needed for diving varies with the demands of the environment, equipment and the nature of the dive. The best strategy is to exercise regularly to improve or preserve your capabilities and prolong your dive life. Do not count on diving alone to keep you physically fit. To maintain or build aerobic capacity and strength, swim, cycle, run, or do whatever other physical activities you can enjoy. The more fit you are, the longer you get to dive. For more information visit DAN.org/Health.
I don't know about you, but I'm working out, eating right and paying even more attention to my dive plan...I'll start thinking about hanging up my wet suit at 105!....should be wrinkeld enough! ;-)