No matter who you are or what you do, everyone can benefit from being in good physical shape.

Incorporating regular activity into our lives brings a host of benefits to us on a daily basis. It reduces the risk of developing a myriad of conditions and diseases, it increases our overall performance and it improves our mental health.

All reputable dive schools and fitness facilities such as Blue Ocean Diving and Blue Ocean Fitness will require you to complete a medical questionnaire to rule out any pre-existing conditions or illnesses.

A degree of good health is required for any form of activity, for your own safety, with medical questionnaires flagging up the need for further consent from a trained medical professional before you are able to continue.

Diving in itself might not be considered an arduous sport given that it is recommended to take it slow and easy underwater.

However, those familiar with diving will vouch for the physical demands it can place upon you. Forget battling strong currents, withstanding cold temperatures and lugging tanks back and forth, sometimes getting suited and kitted up can take a whole lot of effort!

The healthier you are outside the water, the safer and more enjoyable your diving experience will be.

Why Fitter Diving Means Better Diving

Put simply, the better physical shape you are in and the healthier you are, the more you will benefit when it comes to diving.

Diving might be relaxing for the mind, but your body has a lot to contend with without you even realising it.

Apart from the strain that carrying all your equipment to and from the water itself puts on the body’s musculoskeletal system, the respiratory system is also needing to work harder to breathe under pressure while diving.

Someone with greater cardiovascular health will breathe more efficiently, conserve more air and consequently benefit from longer dives. Improving the body’s strength and general functional fitness makes it easier to carry out demanding tasks such as lifting and carrying equipment whereas better flexibility improves your range of motion and lessons the risk of injury.

You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete in order to start diving but having established a good physical base will improve your health, safety, and enjoyment of diving significantly.

 

Obesity and Diving

 

You might be familiar with the words Body Mass Index or the term BMI.

This was a formula introduced in the early 19th century by Belgian mathematician Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. By dividing a person’s weight by their height squared, the resulting calculation is used to give an idea about whether people are overweight or underweight.

The issue with BMI is that it does not differentiate between a person’s muscle or fat and it bases its calculation on an overall weight/height formula. It is recommended that the BMI calculation is not used as a standalone measurement, but to be used in conjuction with other techniques including waist circumference measurement and caliper-based body fat measurements in order to provide a more accurate overview of a person’s health.

Despite this, BMI is still often used as a measurement to determine whether a person is likely to develop medical conditions or diseases, and can also be the deciding factor in what they are and are not able to undertake, such as undergoing an operation, for example.

An unhealthy BMI can also be a limiting factor in a person’s ability to participate in recreational activities such as diving.

PADI’s Medical Statement states that:

To scuba dive safely, you should not be extremely overweight or out of condition. Diving can be strenuous under certain conditions. Your respiratory and circulatory systems must be in good health.

The UK Diving Medical Committee (UKDMC) recommends that:

A BMI (Body Mass Index) of more than 39.9 should exclude diving. Due regard should be taken to weight distribution, obesity concentrated in the abdomen should be less acceptable than evenly distributed fat and due allowance should be given to the individual whose excess weight is visibly muscular.

They then go on to say that, “A BMI between 30 and 39.9 is not ideal but may be acceptable.”

To put it into perspective, a healthy BMI for any adult should be between 18.5 and 24.9.

 

Cardio, Strength or Flexibility: What Should You Focus On for Better Diving?

 

The short answer:

Everything.

A mixture of strength, cardiovascular and flexibility exercises will give your body the best all-round fitness for everyday living as well as the extra demands that activities such as diving will place upon it.

Cardio:

Any aerobic activity will get your blood pumping and the larger muscles of the body working, giving you a cardiovascular workout that improves your body’s ability to absort and utilise oxygen. The higher your level of fitness in this area, the more effectively your body is able to use the oxygen you breathe and the more efficiently it is able to dispel nitrogen.

As a result, once underwater, you will use less air when diving than an unfit diver would do.

It is recommended a person does at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, such as swimming or brisk walking, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity such as running or cycling.

Make sure you keep it up. Getting healthier isn’t a short-term fix. Just two weeks of inactivity can set you back with you experiencing a noticable reduction in performance.

Consistency is key.

Strength:

Now, when it comes to strength training, we aren’t advising you pump iron until you can give Arnie or Sly a run for their money.

Working on your body’s ability to withstand greater amounts of weight and resistance will increase body and core strength and will decrease the risks of developing bone deteriorating conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

Keeping your muscles toned will help to stabilise your joints reducing the risk of injuries to knees, back and shoulders. Muscles also burn more calories than fat, so helping to burn excess energy more efficiently and helping you to maintain a healthier weight more easily.

No special equipment needs to be used, with a full workout programme possible using only your own body weight. Squats, lunges, push-ups and the good old plank are all effective techniques that will increase your strength and resistance, in turn improving your overall health and fitness.

Flexibility:

Finally, flexibility.

It’s often ignored as being time-wasting and unimportant, but the warm up and cool down at either end of any kind of workout should not be overlooked.

Not only will it improve your performance, but stretching before and after activity will also reduce the risk of injury significantly.

Imagine a rubber band that you’ve placed in the freezer. If you take it out and tried to bend it, it would snap. Warm the band up in your hands first and it becomes more malleable and elastic. When you pull it, it extends. This is exactly how your body works. If you don’t warm up and cool it down properly, it might just snap – or cause some kind of injury at least.

 

Be Realistic

Making the decision to become fitter and healthier is a commitment and not something that can be achieved overnight, especially if you are going from barely or inactive.

However, this should not be a deterrent from getting started. The first step to a healthier, fitter you needs to start somewhere. Making the positive decision to begin is all you need.

Getting into shape and maintaining it will help you prevent, manage and reverse illnesses and diseases, will improve your diving experience by decreasing fatigue, increasing endurance, improving agility and comfort and help you to better utilise the amount of air you use, increasing dive time as a result.

 

How Can Blue Ocean Fitness Help?

All our Personal Training packages are designed just for you and we specialise particularly in fitness for beginners. Everyone, whatever age or ability, is given the support, guidance and tools to change their life.

Our initial consultation includes a full anthropometric assessment which includes BMI, blood pressure, body fat measurement, heart rate analysis and a fitness test assessment. We also listen to your goals, your circumstances and your barriers in order to work out a bespoke plan created for you and you alone.

As well as 1-2-1 Personal Training, we also offer Group Sessions that you can come along to whenever you like. Places are limited for each session so make sure you book in advance. You can also organise your own session with a group of friends at a time and place to suit you.

We will also help you to break through the mindset that might be holding you back from achieving your goals through implementing Behaviour Change strategies, available as part of our Personal Training packages or as standalone 1-2-1 sessions.

 

For more information on any of these options, to ask any questions or to discuss your own requirements, please email Tania at getfit@blueoceanfitness.co.uk or call on 07761 867 123.