HEALTH AND FITNESS MYTHS ABOUT SCUBA DIVING
GET THE FACTS STRAIGHT ABOUT FITNESS AND SCUBA DIVING
For all of the great information about scuba diving, you’re bound to run into plenty of rumors and misconceptions. This is especially true when it comes to health and fitness as it relates to being able to scuba dive well. Let’s take a look at the most common health and fitness myths about scuba diving, and put them to rest.
Myth: I Have to Be in Perfect Shape to Scuba Dive
Sure, scuba diving involves a lot of physical activity. You have to be able to carry all of your gear, including that air tank. Once you’re in the water, you’ll need to be able to tread water, dive, swim, and resurface, but you don’t need to be Michael Phelps to do all of that.
People with an average fitness level should have little to no trouble with scuba diving. If you want to test yourself, try swimming 182 meters (200 yards) without a time limit. If you can make it, you should be fine.
Looking for quick and easy exercises to get you ready to scuba dive? Try this workout for scuba divers.
Myth: I’m Not Young; Therefore, I Can’t Scuba Dive
Many older people believe they aren’t physically able to scuba dive because of their age. While diving does require a degree of physical fitness, preparing for a dive is no more complicated than your weekly workouts.
Let’s say, you have previous injuries or you haven’t been near a gym for years. The first step would be to get acquainted with the water. Take swimming or aqua-fitness classes. Swimming, in particular, is a low-impact way to improve total body strength while burning fat. After a couple of months of exercise, look into a scuba diving prep class. Chances are you’ll do better than you think.
Myth: I’m Going to Get Sick Because the Water is Too Cold
No one wants to get sick from an activity that is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. Your chances of getting sick are very low and here’s why: You’ll be matching your wetsuit to the waters you’ll be diving in. Made from a synthetic material called neoprene, wetsuits are made to withstand the temperatures of the deep. Wetsuits are tough and toasty, so you’ll barely notice just how cold the water is.
Wetsuits are recommended and worn by most, even in tropical waters. In the event that you have an interest in diving in ice cold water, that would require a special certification with a particular suit called a dry suit. Here’s a quick rundown of the temperature of the water and the recommended wetsuit thickness that you would use to keep you warm:
Water temperature: 22° Celcius and above (72° Farhenheit and above)
- Wetsuit thickness: < 0.5 mm
18° – 23° (65°- 75°)
- 0.5 mm – 2/1 mm
16° – 20° (62°- 68°)
- 2 mm – 3/2 mm
14° – 17° (58°- 63°)
- 3/2 mm – 4/3 mm
11° – 14° (52°- 58°)
- 4/3 mm – 5/4/3 mm
6° – 11° (43°- 52°)
- 5/4 mm – 5/4/3 mm
5° and below (42° and below)
- 6/5 mm – 6/5/4 mm
Don’t forget that you’ll also be elevating your body temperature by swimming so no need to worry about getting sick.
Myth: My Head Will Explode from the Pressure
Pressure is something to be concerned about when diving but the worst thing you have to worry about is decompression sickness. Also called the bends, this is when the nitrogen forms bubbles that build up in the body and don’t release.
This can easily be avoided if you start slow, progressively dive deeper, and ascend responsibly. If you are ascending at a recommended speed, the nitrogen will simply release without forming bubbles. All things that would be covered in the beginner’s scuba diving class, known as an Open Water Certification.
Myth: Sharks Eat Scuba Divers
Now for the ultimate health concern: your life. Thanks to mainstream movies about being left in open waters and becoming shark snacks, many people are wary about diving for the first time. (Personally, I’m more concerned about jellyfish.)
The reality is that sharks don’t eat people. Shark attacks usually occur at the surface and only because a case of mistaken identity, not a fondness for humans as food. Under the water, shark attacks are extremely rare. When you dive for your first time, it’ll be in an area that is shark-free. In the off chance you do see a shark, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than bitten by a shark.
Speaking of sharks… International Diver went diving with sharks in Rotan!
What Scuba Diving Myth Surprised You Most?
Did you believe you were too old to dive? Were you scared of Jaws lurking near the boat? Let us know in the comments below!