American Heart Month and Diving
February is American Heart Month and a great time to remember the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle. Diving has numerous health benefits but immersion, cold temperatures, pressure, and exercise can stress your body. Having a healthy heart is of the utmost importance to ensure you are able to enjoy all life has to offer—including scuba diving.
You may not realize it while you are exploring a reef or floating across a wreck on a drift dive, but diving is an activity that boosts your health in a variety of ways. Water is denser than air and simply moving in the water helps you gain strength and flexibility. While the legs benefit the most from kicking, diving also helps strengthen your core muscles.
Provided you’re not battling a current, you’re probably breathing deeper and slower while diving than you do topside. This helps reduce your heart rate, which in turn often leads to a feeling of calm. Factor in the lack of cell phones or work demands and diving is often quite relaxing.
The benefits of diving are not restricted to the water. Simply being outside and soaking up some sun provides our bodies with Vitamin D and helps increase our endorphin production in our brains.
And let’s not forget the social aspect of diving. Spending time with our buddy and other like-minded scuba enthusiasts is fun! Surface intervals are the perfect time to interact with other people on the boat, share information about the dive site, what you saw, and make new friends. Shared experiences offer natural bonding moments.
That said, we’ve all been on dives where conditions start out calm and then turn. Currents pick up, the surface becomes choppy, and now you’re exerting yourself. This is not the time to realize you haven’t maintained your fitness level to be able to handle the increased demands of a challenging dive.
While scuba diving has health benefits, it is not a sport without some risk and ignoring the basics you learned in your certification course about breathing, ascent rates, and depth limits is hazardous. Knowledge gives you the ability to mitigate risks, but it’s just as important to be honest with yourself about your health and fitness level when planning a dive trip. A small problem topside can lead to greater issues at depth and it’s important to remember that there is no shame in opting out of a dive.
Diving is an exciting sport and Jupiter Dive Center wants you to enjoy it in good health! The goal of American Heart Month is to raise awareness about heart health and to urge Americans to lower their risk for developing heart disease. We support this goal wholeheartedly.
For more information:
Divers Alert Network (DAN) has an entire series of articles on the heart and how diving affects your health and circulatory system.