By: Shae Mayan
Diving is a physically demanding sport that puts a lot of strain on the body, especially the heart. That's why it's so essential for divers to maintain good cardiovascular fitness. By keeping the heart healthy and strong, divers can minimize their risk of developing cardiovascular problems and ensure that they can dive for years to come.
How Diving Affects the Heart
Diving is a strenuous activity that puts a lot of strain on the heart. The heart has to work harder when diving because it has to pump more blood to the body's tissues. This increased demand on the heart can lead to problems such as arrhythmias, which are abnormal heart rhythms that can be potentially life-threatening. Additionally, diving puts people at a higher risk for coronary artery disease, when plaque builds up in the arteries and makes it difficult for blood to flow through them.
Good cardiovascular fitness is essential for divers because it helps keep the heart healthy and strong. By maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly, divers can reduce their risk of cardiovascular problems.
Additionally, quitting smoking is one of the best things divers can do for their heart health.
Smoking significantly increases a person's risk of developing cardiovascular disease, so kicking the habit is crucial for divers who want to stay healthy and dive for many years.
Cardiovascular fitness is essential for all divers, regardless of their experience level. By keeping the heart healthy and strong, divers can reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular problems and ensure that they can dive for years to come. Many people who want to scuba dive are unaware of the fitness requirements, and as a result, they find themselves unable to complete a dive.
How to Achieve Cardiovascular Fitness for Better Dives
You need to be able to do several things to be considered fit for scuba diving. You need to be able to:
Swim 200 yards without stopping* Tread water for 10 minutes
Float on your back for 10 minutes
Rise from a sitting position in less than 60 seconds
Demonstrate 800 yards of unbroken swimming using any stroke
While these seem lofty goals, they are within reach for most people. If you cannot complete all these tasks, don't worry – there are still ways you can become fit for scuba diving.
Here are some tips that can help you get fit for scuba diving:
Start by Taking a Swimming Class:
If you are not a strong swimmer or have never learned proper swimming techniques, taking a class is a great place to start. There are many community centers and YMCAs that offer swimming classes for adults.
Join a Masters Swim Team:
If you are already a strong swimmer, joining a master's swim team is a great way to get in shape for scuba diving. Masters swim teams are typically composed of adult swimmers who regularly compete in meets and practice. Joining a team will help you maintain your swimming skills and improve your endurance.
Work with a Personal Trainer:
Working with a personal trainer can be extremely helpful if you want to get in shape but don't know where to start. A personal trainer can assess your current fitness level and develop a tailored plan for you. They can also provide motivation and support as you work towards becoming fit for scuba diving.
These are just some ways you can become fit for scuba diving. Remember, even if you cannot complete all the fitness requirements right away, you can still focus on improvement and keep your fitness level in mind when choosing the length and intensity of a dive. Take it one step at a time, and don't give up!
Shae has a bachelors degree in Animal Science and has spent the last 10 years as a personal trainer (NASM and Corrective Exercise Specialist Certified). Currently she is serving activity duty in the Unites States Navy. We thank her for her service.