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Good scuba divers use their brains and their equipment to manoeuvre under water. They control their buoyancy and aim to expend as little energy as possible during a dive. In that way, they keep their heart rates low along with their air consumption. It's not a competitive sport. It's more of a co-operative pastime. It's a triumph of brainpower over brawn. It's an activity for adults of all ages. There are many of the original pioneers of scuba diving now in their eighties' regularly still diving.
When we are young we are naturally fit and healthy. Children are on the go from the moment they wake until the moment they finally fall asleep. We normally carry this fitness with us into young adulthood. No one can deny the attractiveness of youthful health and vigour.
Then we adopt a sedentary lifestyle, often spending many hours behind a desk each day. This is combined with a diet that is based on convenience rather than good sense. Add to this the fact that we have little time to walk or ride a bicycle, and travel everywhere by car, and no wonder there are more obese people in the world than ever before.
Good health for diving is more to do with healthy living than any special exercise regime. Breathing cold air from a regulator can use up a lot of body heat and this is where most of the calories are burnt. Divers only need physical strength for walking down to the shore or climbing the ladder of the boat. Good health starts with our diet.
Instead of sweets and crisps, eat fresh or dried fruit and nuts. A banana is better for you than a chocolate bar. Instead of sweetened carbonated drinks drink plain water. Replace all refined carbohydrates in your meals with wholegrain versions. Have porridge oats for breakfast instead of processed cereals. Eat granary bread instead of the processed white-slice. Pasta, tortillas, and sweet potatoes are better for you than French-fries. Stick with lean meats, fish and chicken for your supply of protein.
Study how much alcohol you drink. The problem with drinking too much is that, besides being full of calories, it is also associated with those take-away foods that weaken your resolve to eat well. Eat sensibly and walk when you can ride, unless you ride a bicycle.
Raised levels of blood pressure are common. Reduce your salt intake. Salt is added to nearly all processed foods so cut them out. Eat fresh foods instead. Losing excess weight can also reduce blood pressure significantly.
Raised levels of cholesterol can collect on artery walls, and reduce the ability for blood to flow easily, increasing blood pressure and the tendency for decompression illness. Losing excess weight and eating wisely helps control cholesterol. This includes eating plenty of fibre, and the super nutrients found in garlic. Cut out supersaturated fats from your diet and add oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines to improve blood circulation.
Happy Diving - John Bantin