Scuba diving gives us the chance to explore an extra 71% of our Blue Planet. It allows divers to escape from their everyday lives and enter a world filled with extraordinary life. As a diver you might be wondering if scuba diving is unhealthy? This question can solely depend on your health history, the type of diving you’re doing, and if you’re following proper safety procedures. As a diver, it is important to consider that there are some medical risks involved with scuba diving. However, if you are scuba diving carefully, following all safety procedures, then it can be a great way to promote good health.
Scuba diving has much of the same benefits that exercise provides. Recreational diving is generally considered to be good for your health in the same way that swimming is good for your health. Being a diver has positive effects physically, mentally, and even socially. There is even science behind the healing effects of the ocean. It’s always a good thing to get out of the day to day and take your body and soul to a new place. Here’s how divers get to experience the ocean’s ability to heal us.
Scuba diving can be a great cardiovascular exercise, especially since it includes a lot of swimming. Swimming is one of the best forms of aerobic and anaerobic exercise we can do. It provides both a cardiovascular workout and a muscular workout as we move against the natural pressure of the water on our bodies, with little to no strain on our joints.
Flexibility and muscular strength is another great physical health benefit that comes with scuba diving. Your muscles work harder underwater as you move against the resistance of the current and the water itself. Doing this will help you strengthen your muscles, while also improving your flexibility and overall endurance. Like swimming, which builds up the muscles in your shoulders and thighs, scuba diving can help tone different muscle areas throughout your body.
As a diver, you learn how to change your breathing patterns and optimize air consumption. You might even find yourself practicing breathwork outside of diving to help improve for future dives. Changing your breathing patterns and practicing breathwork has numerous physical health benefits. Some of these health benefits include:
- Increased Energy
- Boosted Immune System
- Releasing of Toxins from your Body
- Improved Sleep
- Strengthening of your Lungs
- Helps with your body’s “fight-or-flight” response
Slow, deep breathing is important in scuba diving. It promotes a calm attitude during your dives and can reduce the risk of lung-expansion injury.
Incorporating cardiovascular exercise, flexibility, endurance, strength, and breathing into your routine can also improve blood circulation and reduce blood pressure. With that, it’s important to report any pre existing medical conditions to your instructor before diving. You will need to complete a medical questionnaire and submit your doctor’s written statement.
Mental and Social Health
Not only is scuba diving good for your physical health, it’s also very good for your mental health and social health. Scuba diving offers a way for people to escape, allowing them to focus on the here and now. Water is simply the essence of life. Neuroscientists and psychologists have reported that the ocean and waterways help manage trauma, anxiety, depression, autism, and other mental health conditions. Scuba diving offers a lot of mental health support, including:
- Gaining confidence
- Being in the moment
- Finding peace, quiet, and stillness
- Providing a type of sensory deprivation
As a diver, you get to experience each of these in some way. You get to leave your everyday stresses behind and be surrounded by like-minded individuals. Being a scuba diver means that you’ll have to dive with a buddy. Many dive shops around the world set up dive expeditions, which allows multiple buddy groups to travel to the same destination at the same time. After a day of diving, you might find yourself talking about all your dive stories from that day with other divers. This allows people with low social confidence or social anxiety to participate in a vibrant group setting without feeling like they have nothing to contribute.
During the month of October, PADI will be focusing on the positive effects diving has on one’s mental health and wellness. The PADI Live Unfiltered campaign will be turned to Wellness Unfiltered. As an important topic for the younger generation, focusing on mental health and wellness will support the primary goal of the Live Unfiltered campaign: new diver acquisition.
If you have any experiences or stories about how diving has positively impacted your health, feel free to share them with us on social media using #LiveUnfiltered. Be sure to tag PADI’s social media channels as well. This will help raise awareness of the importance of our mental health and diving’s impact on wellness.
“Become a diver, join us, and breathe in the wellness.“
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