It’s common knowledge that swimming is one of the best forms of exercise. It tones muscles, strengthens the cardiovascular system and improves joint mobility. And, for some people, it’s the only exercise they can do. The 2012 Paralympics opened the world’s eyes to what people with disabilities can achieve when they’re in water. But what about scuba diving with disabilities?
You could be forgiven for thinking that scuba diving for people with disabilities would be an impossible sport, but you’d be wrong. Imagine being confined to a wheelchair and then imagine how it would feel to experience the freedom of weightlessness and being underwater. Scuba diving is fast becoming a sport that more and more disabled people are taking up and enjoying. The benefits are boundless.
Benefits of Scuba Diving with Disabilities
This will vary from individual to individual, but the benefits are wide ranging and often life changing. Here are just a few. Apart from getting exercise, disabled divers report that scuba diving gives them:
- Enhanced movement – They can move their limbs in a way they can’t on land
- A sense of freedom they never experience on land
- Relief from anxiety and stress (there is a lot of evidence that scuba can play a big part in helping veterans overcome PTSD)
- A feeling of being in control again
- Equality with able bodied people
- Self belief
How to Get Started
Before you do anything else, visit your doctor just to make sure it’s ok for you to learn to dive. Then, find a dive centre qualified to give the specialist training you need.
Questions? Contact a PADI Dive Center or Resort.
This blog was originally written by Jackie Hutchings and published on the Diviac Magazine.