Let's keep fit to scuba dive!! It’s March and talk around us everywhere, certainly here in Europe today, is about COVID-19. This post is a forward looking post in preparation for a return by the world to ‘normality’ and one where the ability to travel without restrictions, to exotic dive locations is restored. One hopes that this is merely weeks away.
All winter, many of us dream of the next dive season or escaping to warm waters on next trip. But right now, many of us feel anything but fit! "Improving your fitness means you can more easily handle your gear, swim better and have more stamina for a full dive day," says veteran cave diver and certified health and fitness instructor Cameron Martz, author of Fitness for Divers. "It also protects you from decompression sickness, heart troubles or panic if things get tough. Diving is simply safer and more fun when you're fit."
8 ways to be fit to dive
1. STOP! Rest and recover
We live in an increasingly frantic world with many deadlines, to-do lists and tasks piling up. Sometimes the first step to improving your fitness to dive is to do nothing! Seriously, start by finding some time where you do not expect yourself to do anything at all. Imagine the freedom of being in the moment to just be.
The even better news is that from a science perspective, our physical bodies have vital work to do, keeping our systems healthy and functioning. And much of this maintenance happens while our bodies are at rest. Of course, if we don’t rest, our systems get over stretched and run down - So, absolutely, relaxation is a core part of keeping fit-to-dive before the start of the scuba season.
Sleep has been shown to enhance athletic performance. Indeed, a study on basketball players, longer sleep showed to significantly improve speed, accuracy, reaction times, and mental well-being.
Lack of sleep not only leads to tiredness, it also means our brains don’t work quite as well, it becomes harder to learn and we are more likely to get stressed and make mistakes. Of course, while diving, staying safe is paramount and therefore our mind must be able to function to its maximum. So, without a doubt, part of being fit-to-dive means putting in some series quality hours ... in bed!
3. Drink up
Dehydration increases your risk for DCS. Hydration experts recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces, especially on the days leading up to a dive. All liquids count (well, except booze), but water works best.
4. Move Around
... any way you want! Even if you look silly, we don’t mind. Just move!
Research shows that people who walk four hours a week--that's just over 30 minutes a day--weigh nearly 20 pounds less in midlife than those who don't exercise regularly. Related research shows regular walkers are half as likely to develop heart disease--one of the leading killers in our sport. You don't even have to do all your walking at once to get benefits. Three 10-minute walks a day will help you shed fat and strengthen your heart.
Be active and enjoy it. The more you like moving, the more you’ll want to do it. And that will keep your body and mind fit-to-dive.
Just like our physical fitness depends on moving, psychological fitness develops through learning. Building our knowledge and getting better at skills is a really important part of diving, not just for diving, but for our brains too.
Use the winter months to learn a new language, brush up on dive theory, review dive trends and best practices on blogs such as this one. Be mentally ready for the start of the next dive season.
6. Breathe Deeply
Scientists have found that practicing yoga can help improve your lung function and breathing capacity. But you don't have to be a yogi to breathe better. Get similar benefits by stretching your chest muscles, which helps open the chest cavity, and practicing deep breathing to expand your active lung capacity. You can even do it right at your desk: Raise your arms out to your sides and pull them back as far as possible. Hold that position and take five or six deep, full breaths. Relax. Repeat daily.
7. Pool Sessions
The more time you spend underwater, the easier it becomes. If you don't dive frequently, consider signing up for some swim sessions at your local community pool. Water workouts not only give you aerobic fitness, strengthen your heart and lungs and burn about 600 calories an hour, but they'll also make you so much better prepared and fit for your next dive.
And finally ...
8. Dive Gear
Do a pre-season check of your diving equipment. Maintain regulator, bcd, hoses etc and also check out DiverDomain's New Scuba Deals & Promotions for anything else you may need. Lots of amazing deals and promotions there.