In honor of National Women’s Health and Fitness Day, women across the country are encouraged to find ways to live a more active lifestyle and improve their overall health. While taking walks, hopping on bikes or joining yoga classes are a great start to a daily change, why not also consider a new activity that is good for the mind, body and soul…. Scuba Diving.
To many women, the thought of joining a predominantly male sport may seem intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. Scuba diving is a sport that relies more on mental faculties than physical strength, making it a great activity for everyone. In 2014, the number of females becoming certified scuba divers grew to 35 percent, a number which is expected to keep growing. To celebrate the rising number of women in the sport, PADI, the Professional Association of Dive Instructors, presented the first annual Women’s Dive Day.
Words cannot describe the anticipation, nervousness and excitement a diver feels the first time they splash into the water. It is a life changing adventure. The exhilaration of descending below the surface to explore an alien underwater world is just one of the many fantastic aspects of scuba diving. Scuba diving is also a sport that offers many health benefits, both mental and physical.
The underwater world is the perfect place to escape from the stress and noise of daily life and just relax. Breathing deeply while floating weightlessly, and silently, through a picturesque environment is a very powerful way to fight stress.
Burns Calories and Tones Muscles
Even though diving can be a very relaxing sport, it is still a fantastic workout. Divers propel themselves by kicking with fins, all the while keeping their bodies streamlined to move through the water efficiently. This movement engages the legs, glutes, core and back muscles.
PADI estimates that during an average shore dive around 600 calories per hour are burned, 300 calories per hour during a warm water boat dive. The average person burns 675 calories jogging on a treadmill for an hour.
Improves Breathing Technique
In order to maximize bottom time and optimize air consumption, divers must learn to breathe properly. Slow, deep breathing has a multitude of health benefits including improved circulation, increased lung capacity, strengthened respiratory system and reduced stress. The breathing techniques acquired while diving can easily be transferred to daily life on land.
Strengthens Social Skills
Communicating with other divers is a key component in planning and executing a safe and enjoyable dive. Before entering the water, divers must work together to plan their dive and prepare for any problems that may occur. Underwater, divers do not have the luxury of verbal communication so they must learn to rely on hand signals, flashlights and observable signs of distress or excitement. Divers quickly adapt to working as a team and checking in with each other frequently to make sure both are okay. These are skills that are useful below, and above the water.
Builds Confidence and Raises Self-Esteem:
Learning how to dive, figuring out the gear and entering into a foreign environment is a challenge, but with that challenge comes a great feeling of accomplishment. Every dive presents new challenges and as divers overcome them, they gain confidence and feel great about their achievements. The more confidence they feel, the more likely they will be to branch out into new adventures and activities.
Ladies, beginning your scuba diving adventure is easy. Simply call up your local dive center and tell them you want to get your Open Water Diver certification. You’ll learn everything you need to know in the classroom and then the pool. You can complete the open water portion of your certification in a local lake or on vacation in tropical warm waters.