Truth be told, SCUBA diving is not generally viewed as an exercise!
SCUBA diving is usually seen more like a fun vacation activity rather than a workout. Maybe that is because when we think about fitness and exercise, we visualize sweaty bodies running on treadmills or lifting heavy weights for what seems like an eternity. It is not surprising then that the image of slowly gliding through water doesn’t strike us as much of an exercise.
However, on your first scuba dive you will realize that walking to the beach or around a boat with 20 or so kilos on your backpack is quite difficult, let alone lifting the scuba tanks, the weight belt and other dive equipment. But it is during the actual dive, when you will be swimming underwater using only your legs for propulsion, that the real exercise takes place.
One of the best things about scuba diving is that, although it is actually a very good exercise, it doesn’t feel like a workout at all!
In fact, the great news is that SCUBA diving is a great cardiovascular exercise that burns off substantial amounts of calories while tightening and toning your body. Besides, swimming, as everyone knows, is one of the best forms of exercise for the entire body.
SCUBA diving requires you to move efficiently through the water which allows you to target specific muscle groups. In particular, the legs, glutes, core and back muscles are the key muscles a diver uses to manoeuvre through water, a medium that is 829 times more dense than air. This means that for any single movement underwater, you use 829 times the effort you would use to perform that same movement on dry land.
In 30 minutes of SCUBA diving an average woman may burn up to about 400 calories, whereas an average man would burn even a greater number of calories due to men being larger, heavier and with more muscle mass. Also, the more experienced a diver is, the longer the dive can last due to better air consumption rates and, thus, the more calories will be burned at each dive.
At the end of the day, what’s great about considering SCUBA diving as an alternative fitness routine is the fact that its main function, swimming, is promoted by all fitness professionals and physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists as the ideal form of exercise even (and especially) if you are dealing with injuries. This is because swimming is the single best low impact exercise that also allows you to gradually increase your heart rate, increase your blood circulation and warm up your muscles.
At the same time, swimming on the surface of the water at a leisurely speed can be very soothing and meditative, let alone swimming underwater which also allows you to enjoy the most beautiful scenery and feel closer to nature and the local marine life.
So next time you feel like a great exercise, consider leaving your trainers at home and packing your swimsuit!! – xoxo