We’re sure we are not alone in putting a lot of time and effort into looking after our diving equipment. There are so many things you need to check and be aware of to ensure you’re safe during your dive.
While it’s important to look after our diving gear and accessories, it may be the case that we give that too much attention while neglecting other vital equipment, such as our limbs, lungs, and heart.
Fitness & Diving: How to Get Fit for Scuba Diving
Our fitness and health are also very important things to think about not only to the enjoyment but the safety of diving. How fit we are impacts how well or not we are able to handle our gear and equipment, swim underwater, and just generally have enough energy to enjoy a full dive.
Given just how vital fitness is to diving, we have put together some great tips to help you get fit for those underwater adventures and ready for your next liveaboard diving trip.
1. Have a Proper Warm-up
You wouldn’t, shouldn’t consider participating in any sporting activity without warming up. Do you apply the same habits to diving? If not, you should. A reasonably intense warm-up helps to lubricate your muscles and joints and improves your circulation. This will make it much easier to get the most out of your diving adventure.
You can do this by performing push-ups against the nearest wall or performing several simple squats. Do you have any parts of your body that feel tight? Make sure you stretch them out a little. All you need to do is a quick warm-up for a few minutes and then you’re ready to hit the water.
There have been some studies conducted that have shown that people that only walk around 30-minutes a day, or for 4 hours a week, weigh around 20-pounds less than those in midlife who don’t.
So, if you’re looking to stay healthy and fit for diving, consider incorporating walking into your fitness regime, even just 3 x 10-minute walks each day will be beneficial.
3. Build Muscle
It makes sense that if you’re going to be lugging a 50-pound gas tank and BCD system around, even underwater, you need to have reasonably strong and healthy muscles.
We’re not suggesting you need to go full-hog and become a bodybuilder, but by just incorporating 4 strength training movement or exercises 3 times a week into your fitness schedule or even your workouts at home, you could replace 2-pounds of lean muscle tissue you’ve probably lost over the course of the last five years.
Check out these 4 great exercises to try in 3 x 10-repetitions sets:
1# Criss-Cross Crunch
Lie down on your back and bend your knees at 90-degrees. Now lift them so your calves are sitting parallel with the floor. Placing your hands behind your head, lift first your right shoulder up and curl into your left knee as you stretch out your right leg. Switch sides each time.
2# Bent-Over Row
Stand up and hold dumbbells. Now, bending forwards from the hips until you’ve positioned your back parallel with the floor. Let your arms hang down, with your palms back, and pull the dumbbells up to your chest before lowering them again.
3# Chest Press
While lying on the floor on your back, hold dumbbells above your chest with your arms fully extended. Now, lower those dumbbells down until the upper parts of your body are level with your chest before returning to the starting position.
4# Simple Squat
Stand holding your dumbbells at the side of your body. Now, squat right down until you are in the same position you’d be in if you were sat in a chair so that your thighs are almost parallel with the floor. Stand up straight again to the starting position.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
The risk of suffering from Decompression Sickness or DCS is increased dramatically if you are dehydrated. Therefore, it’s crucial that you drink plenty of water.
Some experts advise drinking as much as half your body weight (in ounces), particularly a couple of days before you are due to dive. Water works best, but all fluids, apart from alcohol, are suitable.
5. Breathing Exercises
There’s a school of thought that suggests yoga can help to improve the breathing capacity and function of your lungs. However, you don’t have to become a yoga master as you can experience the same benefits from stretching the muscles in your chest, and thus opening your chest cavity.
Deep breathing exercises can help increase the capacity of your lungs. You can even do it from the comfort of your desk. Just raise your arms to the side and pull them back as far as you can. Hold that position and then take at least 5 or 6 deep breaths. Repeat this daily and notice the difference in saving air during your dives!