Scuba diving health benefits are amass. Because scuba diving involves a lot of physical and mental exercises, that we often do not even think about. Therefore, in this article, we aim to throw light on the many health benefits that scuba diving offers us.
Understanding the Importance of an Active Lifestyle
According to ‘The Heritability of Human Longevity’ life expectancy was allocated to genetics by only 25%. While the rest of the 75% was credited to a healthy and active lifestyle. The study was conducted on 2872 pairs of Danish twins for 30 years; between 1870 and 1900.
In laymen terms, this means that genetics play a fairly small role in human longevity. But what does play an important role is lifestyle. Healthier and more active lifestyles result in humans living longer lives.
Around 20 years after the ‘The Heritability of Human Longevity’ was published, there was another study conducted by Dan Buettner on locating the “Blue Zones” of the world.
Blue Zones are where the healthiest people in our world live. His study was sponsored by National Geographic.
Dan Buettner spent more than 10 years trying to target the hotspots of human longevity. His study did not limit to only finding centenarians but also finding people who had grown old without any complications and health issues. Which includes cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart problems.
The 5 Blue Zones of our World are:
- Ikaria, Greece
- Okinawa, Japan
- Ogliastra Region, Sardinia
- Loma Linda, California, USA
- Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
A research team was sent out to these five blue zones to investigate the reason for this longevity. The team interviewed around 263 centenarians and found a couple of things common amongst them. Lower stress and leading an active healthy lifestyle were the most common factors.
The point of us highlighting these research studies is to showcase that an active lifestyle does help with human longevity. And not only does it help with longevity, but it also keeps health problems at bay.
Scuba Diving Health Benefits
There are various health benefits one can enjoy by scuba diving. For instance, did you know that per dive, an average scuba diver will burn around 400-600 calories.
While scuba diving is a very relaxing adventure sport, it STILL is an adventure sport. It does require you to have a certain level of fitness if you choose to be an avid scuba diver.
So let us get into the benefits that scuba diving offers divers.
Breathing correctly underwater is extremely important to us divers. Taking deep and long breaths is how we keep calm and how me manage our buoyancy underwater. But other than that, breathing slowly and deeply has its own set of benefits. Whether it is underwater or on land, breathing nice long and deep breaths helps us keep our minds calm. Scuba diving is very much like meditating. Breathing slow, deep breaths, reduces our heart rate which helps us to keep calm. In fact, having anchored breathing can even help with the reduction of mucus buildup. Slow, deep breathing is also known to help with pre-existing conditions such as asthma.
Most scuba diving is done during the day. And by scuba diving during the day, we are ensuring that we are receiving our daily dose of vitamin D. By intaking a healthy amount of sunlight, we are also intaking a good amount of vitamin D. This ensures that our bodies are getting enough calcium and phosphate. We need these nutrients to keep our bones healthy. Not getting enough sunlight, will see a fall in vitamin D which can lead to bone pain and bone deformities.
Scuba diving involves a lot of physical activity that is not just underwater. From lifting up tanks, to walking with tanks to the dive site or back rolling with your equipment, it is a lot of physical work. Underwater, during a dive we are constantly working out. We may not feel the strain because we are in water. But due to the resistance of water, we do end up working out all our muscles. Finning in the water, fighting currents and even not fighting currents is still an excellent workout. Dive professionals benefit the most out of this. As we are scuba diving almost everyday, we lift tanks and equipments, we battle currents and we fin against water resistance. Which is why you will always notice that dive professionals are always healthy and in shape.
As mentioned above, it is a fact that a person can easily burn 400-600 calories per dive, which is easily around 30-45 minutes. In relative terms, a person would burn around the same amount of calories if they went jogging for an hour. Scuba diving is usually constant movement underwater. By constantly finning we are constantly working out our muscles. The interesting part is that even if you are on a photography dive and have to be in one place for a long time, you will still loose a high number of calories. Because, just by being in the water, we tend to lose a lot of calories. Again, the reason for this is the resistance of water.
When we scuba dive, we are introduced to something called as pressure gradient.
Pressure gradients are basically a force that follows the direction from high to low pressure.
When our bodies are exposed to pressure gradients during a dive, it causes all our muscles in our bodies to work together and move at the same time. When all our muscles work at the same time, it opens up your blood vessels to supply them with the oxygen that our body requires. This is precisely what improves blood circulation in divers’ bodies.
Lower Blood Pressure
After the initial adrenaline rush of diving for the first time, diving after a long time, or the minute you enter the water you might see a spike in your blood pressure. However, after you have calmed yourself down and resolved to proper breathing techniques. Lower water temperatures allows our bodies to self heat which slows our heart rate and in turn regulates our blood pressures. Anchored breathing not only helps us stay calm but is also a method of lowering blood pressure.
That being said, if you are someone who has high blood pressure, you should consult a doctor before opting to dive.
We cannot stress the importance of deep breathing enough. The simple exercise of breathing slowly and deeply underwater can be extremely therapeutic. The sense of calm that divers indulge underwater is very relaxing. Even the sound of bubbles are sought out to be an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Everything about scuba diving, if done correctly is extremely calming and relaxing and definitely an ultimate stress buster.
Scuba Diving and Mental Health
Recent studies suggest that scuba diving improves mental health. People who suffer from anxiety and depression can really benefit from scuba diving. This again boils down to breathing. By taking slow, deep and long breaths underwater it tends to calm us down and make us feel happy. And also the adrenaline rush of doing an adventure sport, going to deep depths and experiencing a different life. So it is true that scuba diving has come to be known as a sport that can help with mental health and mental wellbeing.
However, we would not substitute professional medical help with scuba diving. Or with any adventure sport for that matter. If you are having mental health issues, it is best to consult a mental health professional about the matter.
Scuba diving is one of the safest adventure sports to try out. And like we have pointed out in this article, scuba diving health benefits are plenty.
Interested in diving with us? Book your dives with us here in the month of May to avail a 20% discount on your dives.
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(PDF) The heritability of human longevity: A population … (n.d.). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/14416947_The_heritability_of_human_longevity_A_population-based_study_of_2872_Danish_twin_pairs_born_1870-1900
National Geographic. (2021, May 3). 5 “Blue Zones” Where the World’s Healthiest People Live. Books. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/books/article/5-blue-zones-where-the-worlds-healthiest-people-live
Scuba Diving and Life Expectancy. DAN Southern Africa. (n.d.). https://www.dansa.org/blog/2018/09/07/scuba-diving-and-life-expectancy.