Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Diving Basics: Give Your Body what it Needs

Pictogram representing the sport of Scuba diving.Image via Wikipedia

For someone who has never been scuba diving, it might seem that the sport doesn’t take much physical effort. When we see pictures and videos of divers, it often looks like they’re just floating around, and how much exertion can that take, right? But the truth is, scuba diving can burn as much energy as many aerobic sports, such as tennis or volleyball. How much energy you’ll burn depends on a few factors, such as the water temperature and the currents you’re in, but in all cases, you will end up putting forth some energy.


Many people who are about to go on a dive are traveling, and it might be tempting to hit the hotel breakfast buffet and load up on a lot of the fried or sugary foods there. It’s a better idea to stick to complex carbohydrates the day of your dive though. These foods, such as oatmeal (without a lot of sugar on it) or bran cereals, will help you to feel fuller longer and will maintain good blood sugar levels to keep your energy up during your dive. Greasy and spicy foods are not good choices, as they can make a diver uncomfortable while under water.

Once your dive is over, it will be time to fuel up after burning a lot of calories. Within an hour of your dive, be sure to have a decent meal to avoid feeling over-tired. Some will down an energy drink after a dive, but make sure to read the label and choose something that doesn’t have a lot of sugar or high levels of caffeine.


Even though you’re completely surrounded by water while diving, it isn’t doing your body any good from a hydration standpoint. Just as with any physical activity, it’s very important to remain properly hydrated before and after scuba diving. It’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, making sure to increase the amount if the weather is hot. Drinking at least two quarts of water throughout the day of your dive will help reduce muscle cramps and fatigue.

General Precautions

Getting plenty of sleep before and after diving day gives your body an opportunity to recharge, and helps you avoid feeling rundown. Remember, diving can be a physically demanding activity, so getting plenty of rest on both ends of a diving day will definitely pay off.

It’s also important to put off diving if you have a cold or a cough. These conditions can make it difficult to equalize while diving, and that can be dangerous. Also, while decongestants might make you feel like you’re ok to dive, they can impair your performance while underwater, so it’s best to avoid them prior to a dive.

Scuba diving is a blast, and you certainly don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy it. Just be aware that it does take a certain amount of physical exertion. Follow the common sense tips above, and you’ll get the most out of every dive experience!

Thanks to Dive Dave!!!

Kathy Dowsett
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