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Health experts tell us that we should exercise our heart with cardio exercises, at least, three times a week for at least thirty minutes each of those days.

Scuba diving is a full body workout, but one you do not often realize until you are finished.

This level of exercise supplemented by some weight training to maintain muscle mass will allow individuals to maintain a medically acceptable level of fitness.

Many people need to go beyond this standard possibly for weight control. For many people, the method of choice is scuba diving. Most people do not associate scuba diving with fitness. However, it is an excellent way to maintain your fitness.

So the next time you are in the gym, running for 30 minutes on a treadmill going nowhere, next to a line of people also going nowhere and looking as miserable as you feel, you could be scuba diving and be watching the fish.

Scuba diving is a full body workout, but one you do not often realize until you are finished. Unless a diver is diving against a strong current, a diver seldom works to the point of muscle failure. Once he is out of the water, it may hit him, but seldom while diving.

Strengthening Your Muscles as You Swim

Strength training is one of those items that the personal trainer punishes you with, I mean trains you with to have a well-rounded fitness. While weight training is the key, it can also be accomplished with resistance training.

There are fitness programs based on what are large rubber bands, you use your strength against the resistance of the bands. If your gym or fitness center has a swimming pool, you may see water aerobics. These are low impact exercise programs that are aerobic in nature.


The water has two benefits, first it makes the exercise low impact which makes it great for those with injuries or just can not stand the jarring on the feet and knees. The other is not only the water cushioning the impact it adds resistance to all the body parts below water. This introduces resistance training.

When we dive the resistance is all around us. Diving uses most of the major muscles except the arms. The arms have little impact as we dive when compared the power put out by the other major muscle groups. As we use our fins, it works out our quads, hamstrings, calves, ankles, hip flexors, core, and shoulders.

That is as complete of a work out of any aerobic or strength program. While the intensity might not be the same in a gym, the time is generally much longer. A deep dive will likely last 30 minutes while a shallow dive may extend an hour.

Also, remember that the resistance doubles when you go down 10 meters, and for each additional 10 meters that resistance is added again. Twice as much at 10 meters, three times at 20 meters.

Moving Against the Current

In the gym, while you are walking or running on the treadmill, you know you have to go as fast as the treadmill or it will push you backwards and off. Our goal is to match the speed. While we are diving, we want to propel our body forward as we explore a dive site. We just need to overcome the resistance around us and move forward which is not always easy because of currents.

Runners will understand this well, on a windy day it is tough to run into the wind, and the wind helps us if it is to our backs. As scuba divers, we generally swim into the current when we start a dive, so that the current will help us as we return to our starting point.

There are times such as taking photos or videos underwater that we need to maintain our position just like the person on a treadmill.

Scuba diving is a great work out

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Working to Maintain the Right Body Temperature

While submerged, your body loses heat 20 times more quickly than when you're on land. This means your body has to work that much harder to maintain its ideal temperature. Your metabolic rate will dramatically increase, and your body has to work even harder if you're diving in cooler waters.

You will burn quite a few calories when diving

If you are a calorie counter and keep track of the calories you burn, compare your workout to a typical dive. You will see that a session of scuba diving equals a jog or slow run. Swimming against currents or in colder water will increase that burn rate. If nothing else, that should help convince you of the benefits.

While underwater our gear weights almost nothing because of buoyancy, however on the surface we are carrying at least 45 pounds of equipment and a tech diver may have well over a hundred pounds. This requires good core strength and balance as well.

Besides the physical benefits that scuba diving provides, it also benefits the mind and emotions. The activity is peaceful, serene, and beautiful.

So go ahead and book your next dive get scuba certified or join one of our underwater photography dive trips, knowing that you'll increase your feel-good hormones, burn up calories, strengthen and tone those muscles, and feel great during and after your adventure.

What are your thoughts about scuba diving and fitness? Let us know in the comments below


Article written by Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam, he runs and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.

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