As divers we are always told about the dangers of diving. All of the classes and certifications we take are to prevent bad things from happening, magazines write articles about horror stories underwater
Some of the briefings we get before taking the plunge can be a bit frightening and all of this is before we start talking about decompression sickness. It is, unarguably, a sport with risks but there are also many great health benefits to diving as well.
Scuba Diving as Therapy
Without a question one of the most noticeable benefits is the mental and emotional therapy that the deep blue provides us with.
The feeling of weightlessness and flying is a soothing enough feeling that can often calm nerves and wash away many stressors that are common on the surface. A slow moving current mixed with allows for a relaxing dive.
Seeing the different marine flora and fauna with odd shapes and colors uncommon to the surface world has its psychological benefits as well.
After seeing many of the same day to day surface dwellers and machines that run our world in circles our brains become complacent to our surroundings. Using our underwater experience observing the creatures of the deep could be used as a brain exercise.
It allows us to keep different parts of our brain active and engaged often triggering feelings of excitement and curiosity which have become few and far between in today’s hustle and bustle lifestyle.
Along with today’s fast paced lifestyle it is often hard to find the time to stay in shape. It is recommended that we already be in shape when we go diving and this is true.
We should be physically capable of supporting our gear. It is important we remain in shape both for ourselves and our dive buddy. There may be a day that our physical fitness could save a dive buddy’s life. Physical fitness is both directly and indirectly affected by diving.
Scuba Diving Fitness
It is directly related to our fitness because the act of swimming is one of the best modes of aerobic and anaerobic work 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.
As we attempt to train ourselves to take long, deep and slow breaths to conserve air, we are in actuality training our bodies to more efficiently use the oxygen going to our muscles.
A normal person only uses about ¼ of the oxygen that is inhaled into their lungs. As we learn to more efficiently breathe our bodies learn to absorb more of the available oxygen as we breathe in.
Diving also provides an indirect affect on our physical fitness, diving works as a motivation. Some of us may go running or workout so that we can be physically ready to support ourselves and our buddies on the next dive. It also helps to look good in a wetsuit.
How Scuba Diving can Heal
One other little known benefit to being at depth is a healing factor. This was demonstrated and experienced by researchers that remained in an underwater habitat for several weeks. The human body uses oxygen to repair cuts and tears that we may get in different tissues within our body.
The more oxygen that gets to the injured location the faster that it will heal. As divers we know that the air in our scuba tanks becomes compressed as we go to depth. With the increased consumption of air comes a more concentrated dose of oxygen.
With larger amounts of oxygen over a longer period of time researchers experienced decreased healing times for cuts and scrapes (of course there is a concentration limit before oxygen becomes toxic).
In today’s day and age of worries and struggles it is important that we don’t let our hobby be another stressor. Especially for new divers we should remember the hazards of diving so we may stay safe but don’t let them overwhelm you into forgetting the positives.
How does or did your health benefit from SCUBA diving? Let us know in the comments below
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Blog written by: Rutger Thole who founded bookyourdive early 2012 because he saw that there was no simple and easy to use platform where divers could go to, to read scuba blogs, browse dive centers within locations and where they could read reviews from other scuba divers.