When it comes to diving there is much debate around the level of physical fitness that is required in order to participate in the sport effectively, some argue that diving is based on technique and others will say that the power that comes with being physically fit is essential to a smooth drive. In order to be proficient at scuba diving I would recommend some form of formal training, or to take part in the activity as a part of a group to ensure your safety.
Diving does require fitness to a degree, you will have to be a strong swimmer and with that, you must have enough stamina to maneuver your body underwater. In this respect, I would agree with the statement that you do have to be relatively healthy in order to ensure you have the best experience. Those who aren’t the strongest swimmers may have difficulty with being able to dive for longer periods meaning the activity is limited to the amount of time they can spend in the water without feeling tired.
Experience and practice also play a part in how efficient you are underwater, scuba diving sometimes relies on confidence and calmness in an underwater environment. The fittest person in the world could try their hand at scuba diving but, without confidence, it is unlikely they would be better than someone who is less healthy but more experienced as it can take some getting used to.
Although a degree of health is required, some would argue the equipment that is used by scuba divers takes a lot of the strain the activity can have on the body. Being underwater would be difficult without the use of a fullface scuba mask to allow you to see, oxygen tank to breathe, a swimsuit to conserve warmth and flippers to improve swim speed. The abundance of equipment that is used whilst scuba diving is designed to allow divers to be underwater for a prolonged period of time, with that in mind anyone should be able to give scuba diving a go provided they have all of the necessary equipment.
With that in mind, it is important to mention that you should only take part in recreational scuba diving with a trained or experienced professional with you, even though the equipment is there to protect you if you are a beginner you could be putting yourself at risk if you are not entirely sure of what you are doing.
How to train
For those of you looking to get started in scuba diving, there are certain training activities you can do in order to better prepare yourself. These activities will help improve your stamina as well as your proficiency in the water and as an added bonus they each have various health benefits that contribute to your overall fitness.
Swimming – It may be redundant to mention but, swimming has great fitness qualities providing a workout for the whole body, in terms of scuba diving just getting used to spending a significant amount of time in the water can do wonders for your confidence as you get to practice with how to move and remain calm.
Snorkeling – As well as swimming snorkeling allows you to get used to the feeling of wearing a mask and breathing apparatus underwater, this is a great way to practice being under the water but in a less daunting environment.
Running / Cardio – In terms of general fitness and preparation for diving, running and any other cardio exercise is a great way to boost stamina and improve your overall health. Cardio exercise is proven to boost fitness as well as increasing the time it takes for you to get tired whilst in the water which is particularly useful when it comes to diving.