Diving isn’t just an exciting way to enjoy the ocean. The underwater sport is also good for the body and the mind. In addition to all of the reasons to love scuba (ie. it helps us disconnect and take in the underwater world), here are ten ways diving is good for you – no matter what your age, size, or diving ability.
Exposure to Sunlight
Vitamin D is crucial for our health, yet it is difficult to consume it from food in adequate amounts. Luckily exposure to the sun provides the body with Vitamin D. In turn, this promotes the absorption of calcium in the body which is essential for bone health
As we all know, the most important “rule” of scuba diving is to never stop breathing. Paying attention to the rhythm of one’s breath stabilizes any negative feelings and calms the nervous system. Deep breathing can also build exercise stamina, boost the immune system, and clear the mind for better focus.
Many people are intimidated by finding stillness in meditation, but divers do it all the time – even if they don’t realize it. Meditation controls anxiety reduces age-related memory loss, fights addictions, calms the mind, and promotes emotional health and self-awareness. You may think of meditation as sitting still, in silence, with your eyes closed. However, meditation involves focusing your attention on one thing which in diving, involves your breath, and the blue.
Swimming against the current, fin kicks, and even carrying scuba gear requires effort on the entire body and burns calories. Diving is a relaxing sport, but the act of movement underwater keeps the heart rate moving, tones muscles, and builds endurance and strength. It’s an underwater workout that is also easier on the joints and ligaments.
Lower Blood Pressure
An exciting animal encounter or a strong current can increase the heart rate, but the overall dive experience is relaxing and calming, which reduces stress and anxiety. The lower temperature of the water physically calms the body and the blood vessels resulting in a lower heart rate and lower blood pressure.
Interaction with Outdoor Elements
Exploring a new environment, even if you have a logbook full of dives, is always a unique experience. Exposing oneself to the warmth of the sun, colorful underwater panoramic views, and playful marine life ignites a happier and more joyful mood. What’s even better: Tranquil blue hues, similar to the color of the ocean, creates calming chemicals in the body. This has recently been dubbed “Blue Mind”, and it’s definitely not diving dependent. You just have to be by the water to reap the benefits.
After a day of diving, it’s not uncommon to have a more restful sleep. Some divers experience more vivid (underwater) dreams. The flowing movements, underwater scenery, mindful breathing, and the dive experience as a whole contribute positively to one’s physical and emotional mind-set. A happier disposition at the end of the day makes it easier for anyone to fall into a deep slumber – and ready to wake up refreshed and rejuvenated.
Increases Dopamine and Serotonin Levels
Often called your “happy hormones” both dopamine and serotonin play major roles in your body’s happiness and reward systems. The former is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate your motivation levels. Achievements, like gaining your Open Water certification, help to boost dopamine levels.
Serotonin is associated with feelings of happiness, which you’ll most likely experience during and after diving! Maintaining healthy levels of these happy hormones helps contribute to good mental health and wellbeing.
Ready to Experience Blue Health
The benefits of diving are quite outstanding. As divers, we love the sport and adventure itself and have already felt many of the above, but for non-divers, it’s great to be aware of just how many positives this magical activity can bring into your life. By learning to dive, you’ll have a deeper appreciation for the benefits of the blue and give yourself an excuse to get back in the water – and do something healthy for yourself.
Article Credit to Cecily Russell on February 28, 2022 – PADI Blog