If there is one thing lockdown and the pandemic has taught us, it is to look after ourselves better. Many of us have started a fitness regime or have been cooking healthier meals, some of us have discovered new hobbies. Being more aware of the state of our mental health is something that is now discussed openly. Scuba diving has many benefits to our well-being, and our list below gives many reasons why you should do more of it!
- Water is calming
You started life in water. Being in it transports you back to being in the womb. The ocean is vast and being near it can give you a feeling of freedom, while weightlessness - or rather neutral buoyancy - instils a sense of calm. Being close to nature also awakens the senses.
- Diving burns calories!
There are many theories about how many calories the “average diver” burns during a dive, but this all varies depending on your fitness, the water temperature and dive intensity. You may think you are relaxed and not moving a lot, but water is much denser than air. There is more resistance when moving through it, and you use multiple leg muscles when finning. When we are exposed to a temperature lower than that of our core, thermoregulation causes us to burn calories. Help your divemaster to (carefully) lug around some dive bags and cylinders and boom! – you have done the equivalent of a Joe Wicks HIIT session!
- It builds confidence
Meeting people in diving circles is a given, whether you join a club with friends or alone. Diving requires teamwork, from loading the boat to buddy checks to enjoying a shared experience. This can build solid friendships which give you confidence. Learning new skills and getting certifications also boost self-esteem and a sense of achievement.
- Diving lowers your blood pressure and improves circulation
Slow, regular breathing (and being aware of the sound of it underwater) creates calm and lowers the heart rate. You leave daily distractions topside and become more focused. If you are breathing properly, you get a similar sensation to meditating, which in turn reduces stress. As your muscles work, the blood vessels open and supply oxygen to them, thus improving circulation.
- Salt water is good for you
Magnesium, sodium and potassium are just a few minerals you can find in seawater. They fight infection, heal wounds and are good for your hair and skin. Being in the sea can also relieve muscle and joint pain. Dopamine and oxytocin are the feel-good hormones released when in close proximity to water!
- Gets you travelling
Many divers travel around the UK with their hobby or enjoy diving holidays abroad. We all need a break to re-charge our batteries, and what better excuse than getting wet? New adventures and locations widen our memory banks, give us things to look forward to, and lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels. They also introduce us to new people and cultures.
- Improves your mood
The combined experiences of doing something different, getting your body moving and being close to nature will generally make you feel better! Being in sunlight increases the production of endorphins, while vitamin D may help to prevent diabetes, heart disease and maintain healthy bones. Looking at colourful marine life is likely to reduce any feelings of sadness you may have had when you woke up, while concentration and awareness in the brain are also improved.