Updated: Dec 11, 2020
For most of us, the importance of fitness is not really how fast we can run or how much we can bench press. Most immediately apparent is how our fitness level affect our ability to perform the basic function of life.
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Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." When we're scuba diving, fatigue can do more than make cowards of us: It can endanger us. Yoga, Swimming and fitness training will help ensure you are safe in the water and able to enjoy your diving experience. People who dive only once or twice a year (or less frequently) may find they are not as physically fit as they hoped. Each year we get older, and the levels of exertion we achieved in prior years may not be as sustainable. While diving is not normally a physically demanding sport, situations can arise that require stamina and keen water skills.
Diving is a unique activity in that we actually strive to limit our exertion, while the secondary benefits of our fitness remain critical to our health during and after our dives. Safe diving requires a strong heart, healthy lungs and good peripheral tissues. Staying in shape reduces some of the risks associated with diving, and makes it more enjoyable. Having healthy lungs and an efficient circulatory system means you will use less air, so dives last longer. A good level of cardiovascular fitness will also help to prevent panic attacks, which can be triggered by a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood. A fit body will expel this by-product of respiration more efficiently, reducing that risk. General strength is required for lifting equipment and other incidental tasks. Maintaining a healthy weight for your size is also advisable. When you dive, nitrogen builds up in the tissues of your body with each intake of breath, and fat retains nitrogen longer than all other tissue types. Therefore, if you are overweight and breathe rapidly because you are out of shape, you expose yourself to an increased risk of Decompression Sickness. Weight loss and gain can also alter your buoyancy. Fat is inherently buoyant, so if you have put on or lost a lot of weight since your last dive, you must adjust how much lead weight you carry as ballast.
So start now. Remember, a fit diver is a safer diver.
Author: Ahmed Fouad