5 Reasons SCUBA Diving is Good For You
The benefits of a good diving holiday can be found well past the arrival gate and the taxi ride back to the real world. From new friendships found abroad, to the everlasting bond created between a father and son during their first open water dive, scuba diving is undoubtedly one of the most healthy sports for the mind, body, and soul.
Here are 5 reasons why you should be happy you’re a certified diver
Divers breathe better
What’s the number one rule of scuba diving? If you guessed never hold your breath, you’re correct. Breathing slowly, deeply, and continuously helps divers avoid lung over-expansion injuries while inhaling compressed air underwater. According to research published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, this breathing technique increases lung capacity, strengthens the respiratory system, and can cut your risk of developing diseases of the lungs. While this study was done on deep breathing in general, divers are often underwater an hour or more, practicing this technique much longer than the participants in the study. In a similar study published by the Harvard Medical School, breathing deeply can lower blood pressure and anxiety and likely help control other stress-related disorders.
Let’s face it, exercise isn’t all that much fun
There are two kinds of people in life: those who love the treadmill and those who can’t stand it. For those in the latter group, you’ll be happy to hear that scuba diving might just be the answer you’ve been searching for. Recent studies highlight the benefit from this low impact sport. The 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities (a database that measures the energy cost of sports and activities by metabolic equivalents, or METs) gives scuba a MET ranking of 7.0, putting it on par with ice skating, very brisk walking, and playing casual soccer. Not to bad for something so fun!
Diving relieves stress
Most scuba divers find diving one of the greatest stress relieving activities around, and for good reason. The mammalian diving response. According to the National Institutes of Health, the mammalian diving response is an amalgam of three independent reflexes inducing physiological changes that counter normal homeostatic control which is found in all aquatic mammals including whales, dolphins, and you guessed it, humans. These reflexes are activated when our face is cooled (such as by the water during a dive) or if we hold our breath. The diving reflex is a clever physiological mechanism enabling the body to manage and tolerate a lower level of oxygen, giving an overall sense of calm and well being to the diver.
Need an adventure, try scuba
While diving can be enjoyed at your local dive shop, pool, or murky lake, most prefer warm water tropical destinations. Traveling to these exotic locations can make for an experience not soon forgotten by even the most jaded teenager. Whether you’re wreck diving the Ex Uss Kittiwake in the Cayman Islands, or just exploring one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful shallow reefs, dive travel makes life more exciting. In addition, tropical climates are usually associated with lots of sunshine. One of the most important benefits of sun exposure is Vitamin D. According the the National Institutes of Health, Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, muscles and overall health. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is necessary for the production of vitamin D in the skin and is the best natural source of vitamin D. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
Be a better life buddy
Being a certified Open Water Diver carries with it a responsibility that participants of many sports wouldn’t likely understand. Looking after your own needs while being responsible for the safety of your partner is second nature to most divers. Divers are taught this from their open water certification. Communication is important to any relationship. Divers know the importance of checking-in to let your partner know you’re OK. To be self-confident is to be secure in yourself and your abilities. As divers, we carry these traits not only to the dive boat, they can be found in every aspect of our daily lives.