Diving is an activity in which we prefer to avoid intense physical exertion, but fitness and training do have a number of major benefits for divers nonetheless. Training for endurance and strength will allow a diver to reduce the strain on their bodies, and in turn both give you the muscle power you need for diving with heavy scuba gear and reduce nitrogen buildup in the bloodstream and muscle tissue, making diving safer and more enjoyable overall.
So what exercises should you be doing? How often should you do them? Read on for our top exercise tips to focus on in order to meet your scuba diving fitness requirements.
Develop Your Muscular Strength
The heavy-duty gear you’ll be carrying while diving imposes a significant level of strain on your muscles. Because of this, a solid level of muscular strength is vital for a diver, particularly back, leg and core strength. Not only will upping your strength and lean muscle mass be key for your scuba diving fitness, it also has numerous other benefits in other aspects of your life.
A full-body training program two or three times a week involving squats, lunges, pullups, shoulder presses and leg raises, among a variety of other exercises, is a great way to begin strengthening your muscles and meet your scuba diving fitness goals. However, if you are not used to regular exercises like these, it is advisable to seek professional advice and supervision in order to maximise the effectiveness of your training and ensure your safety. A few strength training sessions at your local gym can go a long way in reaching your scuba diving fitness requirements.
Look Into Cardiorespiratory Training
Cardiorespiratory fitness encompasses the ability of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the body during exercise, and it plays a key role in scuba diving fitness. The ability to process and utilise oxygen efficiently is tremendously important when diving and increasing your physical fitness and overall stamina will help with this. You will also benefit from a decreased risk of decompression sickness thanks to an increased capacity for dispelling nitrogen.
Cycling, swimming and running are great cardiorespiratory exercise that you can engage in to work your cardiovascular and respiratory systems to boost your scuba diving fitness. Your local gym should also be equipped with a variety of devices including treadmills, rowing machines or cross trainers - all of which are great to use in cardio training. To make the most of your training sessions and push cardiorespiratory capacity as far as you can, you should be aiming for shorter and more intense sessions with multiple short breaks over slower continuous ones.
Master Your Breath Control By Practising Yoga
Working in a very similar way to cardio, yoga is a great exercise in your toolbox for meeting and exceeding your scuba diving fitness requirements. Breath control and relaxation are great for relaxation and awareness when diving, Yoga teaches a diver to be able to monitor and control their own breathing through a focus on proper inhalation and exhalation technique. It also stretches and strengthens many of the muscle groups used during a dive.
Yoga classes are a commonly offered form of physical education in many areas, but even a good book or online tutorials are enough to get you started on Yoga training and one step closer to your scuba diving fitness goals.
Have A Plan
Okay all of those tips for areas to work on are fantastic but the real question is how do you balance it all out? Let’s be real, we all have lives outside of diving, so we don’t have the time to commit to exercising each individual day. The general recommendation is that you perform some amount of exercise two or three times a week, how you split that up is up to you and should be based off of the areas you find yourself weakest in. If you find yourself stretched then prioritising your cardio is probably the way to go, as it is both the most important aspect of your scuba diving fitness, but also the one that should take least time per session.
Warm Up Every Time You Dive
Warming up every time you are heading out to dive is strongly recommended. Meeting your ideal scuba diving fitness requirements is no good if you haven’t prepared yourself to use it. A good warm up should loosen up your joints and muscles and boost your circulation in preparation for physical exertion. Do a few squats and push ups, and be sure to stretch out your whole body, particularly in places you feel particularly tight. A good warmup should last around two minutes and get you ready and raring to go for your dive.
Pay Attention To Your Diet
It’s a well known fact that athletes practise rigorous dietary regimes in order to maximally boost their performance in their chosen sport. Now, we’re not saying you have to be an Olympic medalist in order to enjoy a spot of scuba diving, but boosting your scuba diving fitness does involve a certain level of dietary control.
We recommend that you avoid heavy meals, particularly red meat and fatty foods, that will be difficult to digest before a dive. Coffee is generally ill advised too, as it stresses the body and causes difficulty in breath control, which can lead to a nasty bout of decompression sickness. That said, you also shouldn’t dive on an empty stomach either. Lighter meals containing protein or fruits are ideal for preparing for a dive, and you should be eating at least two hours before you actually begin the dive.
Those were our top six tips for improving your scuba diving fitness but we still have one more piece of advice to share. While being physically fit does certainly help, heavy exercise is best avoided 24 hours before and after scuba diving. Too much exercise or exercise that’s too intense can stimulate bubble formation during the decompression phase, thereby inhibiting inert gas elimination and increasing your risk of decompression.
If you have any scuba-related queries or questions about what Aquanauts can do for you, then please get in contact with our team of scuba specialists today.
The new Garmin Descent MK3range has been so popular we sold out in the first week. Taking pre orders for our next delivery now, order soon to get your hands on the most exclusive dive computer this winter!