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While diving is a bucket list item for people all around the globe, regular diving has been found to have important benefits to your overall health!
Diving leads to better stress levels
The act of diving has been known to lower stress levels. Being under the surface and focusing on deep breathing (and the rhythmic sound of only that and nothing else) encourages you to shut out all the problems and stress builders in your life. Deep breathing stimulates a natural reaction response within the body, eliminating stress building enzymes and creating an improved sense of wellbeing and calm. It is almost like underwater, weightless meditation!
Further, immersing yourself in the ocean brings you up close and personal with incredible marine life, a form of ‘fish therapy’. Studies, dating as far back as the 1980’s suggest that watching fish in an aquarium can release relaxation properties (have you ever noticed fish tanks in medical/dental offices?) It is a form of animal therapy with recent studies using aquarium displays suggesting that viewing an aquarium for up to 10 minutes can be linked to long term reductions in blood pressure and heart rate. As more fish were added, the benefits increased, with lower heart rate (7% less) and blood pressure (4% less) recorded. It was found that the more fish in the tank, the happier the participants were, which explains why we feel so good ascending from an ocean dive, abundant with sea life.
Diving builds confidence
The moment you step or dive into the deep blue, you are putting your faith in your abilities as a diver. Everything you have learned, especially how to deal with an emergency situation constantly lingers at the back of your mind as you enjoy your dive. However, knowing that you have the ability to save your own life (and the lives of your dive buddies) should you come into an emergency great or small is an important skill. Confidence underwater does not come automatically and different situations will impact your confidence and knowledge in different ways, but like anything, the more you do it, the more confident you will be. When you know you have the ability not only to save your own life but the lives of others, it’s hard not to let that confidence seep into everyday life!
Diving increases fitness levels
Diving is a physical activity and can have a real impact on your body and fitness levels. In order to be able to dive, you need to be of good health to begin with. Conditions including asthma or respiratory conditions, ear conditions or unable to equalise, heart conditions, epilepsy, diabetes or certain medications taken may result in being unable to dive for your own safety. Other conditions are at the discretion of a dive doctor. Once cleared for diving, the physical benefits of diving are immense. PADI estimates that a warm water dive can burn as many as 300 calories, with a three-dive day in the tropics burning approximately 900 calories- only 180 calories less than a medium Big Mac meal (burger, fries and a coke). Swimming with a tank and BCD, especially in a current act to tone the core, glutes and legs creating a full body work out.
Diving creates friendships
Diving is an extremely social activity (despite the activity itself being conducted underwater) and an excellent way to build friendships with like-minded individuals from all around the world. Diving creates a sense of community, especially through shared experience. In a digital age, there is something extremely special about meeting new people all around the world through diving.