Scuba diving, whether for professional or recreational purposes, requires fitness and stamina. As part of an active lifestyle, scuba diving creates many opportunities to incorporate physical (and mental) workouts and healthy habits to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
“As a recreational scuba diver for more than 17 years, and a professional scuba instructor for the past 5, staying in shape is key to handling the daily workload,” says Jack Fishman, PADI AmbassaDiver & Staff Instructor. “Stamina is critically important for staying focused during multiple days of diving.”
Here is an interview with the expert scuba diver on using scuba diving for health and fitness!
What are basic ways to approach scuba diving for health?
“Sometimes during the summer or high-season grind we are in and around the water diving many times daily for weeks at a time,” says Fishman. “Balancing a healthy dose of cardio and stamina workouts with strength building for core and upper body strength are some of the most important areas to focus on. Lifting heavy objects comes standard with scuba diving. Whether you are moving lead weights and scuba gear or shuttling tanks to and from different locations, proper form and endurance are vital to avoid injuries and reinforce the energy needed for the task at hand.”
What workouts can you recommend for divers?
“It is not always easy to find time to exercise after days of diving so finding ways to be creative and productive are a must,” says Fishman. “Some workout tips and activities I recommend for diving”:
Deadlifts: “It’s important to lift heavy objects with proper form, especially tanks and especially over varying heights. Always be careful not to overextend your back or shoulders.”
Push-ups: “They can be done on most flat surfaces. Building core and upper body strength builds stamina when lifting objects and moving things in and out of the water.”
Sit Ups: “This helps core muscles and upper body strength.”
Running: “Staying fit and active is so important especially when going for days at a time. Running not only relieves stress, but simple and effective cardio to keep the muscles loose and warm during daily schedules.”
Meditation: “Breathing techniques such as deep breathing exercises or meditation to calm the mind and body before diving into a new adventure.”
Free diving: “This builds stamina for CO2 absorption and confidence underwater. Safe and healthy practices and increase swimming abilities and your ability to handle difficult or emergency situations with extra stamina from those activities.”
Underwater Hockey: “This unique activity is a popular option in the Florida Keys. Combining intense cardio with swimming abilities, this sport not only keeps you extremely active, it helps create vast amounts of confidence in and around the water in relevant scuba gear; mask, fins and snorkels. Underwater hockey is played all over the states and anyone from 13 years old to 70 years old, man or woman. Water is the big equalizer. Otherwise, swimming at local pool to build endurance and leg strength.”
Any other tips or inspiration for new or veteran divers?
“Whatever you do, stay active in the diving community, get on a boat, get in the water, and dive, dive, dive!” encourages Fishman. “Staying fit and safe during diving practices are very important. Follow recommended guidelines after nitrogen absorption as well.”
Photos: property of Jack Fishman