People all over the world, of all ages and from all walks of life embark in the scuba diving journey for a variety of reasons. Someone might simply be attracted to the underwater world, others do it for the adrenaline rush; some do it in the hope of finding hidden treasures or exploring sunken wrecks, and others more for a biological interest.
On top of all these noble causes, scuba divers experience a number of additional benefits to their lives. Let’s see together the greatest advantages that scuba diving adds to your life.
Scuba diving improves your physical fitness, burns calories and moves all of your muscles. While swimming against currents or carrying heavy equipment, your body is subject to an effort that is minimized by the water surrounding you, but still gives you a great workout. Your flexibility and agility improve, you build your aerobic fitness and your muscular strength. Studies show that regular divers have a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure, which is dropped while you relax and take deep breaths while enjoying a nice dive. We all want to control our breathing while diving to master our buoyancy and maximize dive time by minimizing air consumption, and the effects of these techniques follow us well after reemerging to the surface.
The positive effects of scuba diving on our mental health are literally countless. While breath control has great results on the physical sides, it also promotes a general feeling of emotional wellbeing and peace of mind, allowing divers to connect at a deeper, spiritual level with the ocean, and to stabilize negative feelings, calming your nerves. Even in the earliest stages of learning, when anxiety or previous traumas might make us feel overwhelmed, mindful breathing will assist us and build extra resilience. In the meantime, scuba diving enhances our sense of focus, concentration and awareness, boosts self-confidence and self-esteem, relieves stress and soothes your mind. In-water meditation is almost automatically achieved while scuba diving, leaving you with a great peace of mind.
When you learn how to scuba dive, you immediately realize there was so much on earth that you were not even aware of. Water is over 70% of our planet: there is so much more to explore underwater compared to what is on land! Scuba diving opens the doors to a whole new world, allowing you to have a deeper interaction with the elements of nature. You will expose yourself to more sunlight, to colorful seascapes, magnificent marine life, sunken artifacts, and much more. The connection with nature that divers experience has no comparison on land, and this also generates a greater respect for our world. A number of events aiming to protect our environment involve divers all over the world, and divers can simply pay their respects to the underwater world by picking up plastic and all sorts of trash during their dives. Ocean clean-ups make us feel that we are clearly doing something good for the planet, and conservation activities give us a general sense of satisfaction.
Scuba diving offers a number of social benefits. As you learn from the very first lessons, diving is not a solo activity. In order to avoid any dangers, you will need to find a dive buddy or follow a guide. You will learn to trust and appreciate the divers you connect with, and build this way lifelong friendships. Becoming friends is very quick between divers! Even if no-one you know is a keen diver, you can still join a group, a dive trip or a dive center and find dive companions to share your experiences with, and to admire the underwater world with, in total safety.
It is likely that you’ll chose to dive in sunny, warm, tropical paradises, which in turn will enhance your exposure to sunlight. This should not be considered a trivial advantage! Vitamin D is critical for our wellbeing and health, and exposure to the sun is very limited in our modern, stressful lives. Especially during the Covid pandemic, we have been locked in our homes for extended periods of time, missing on that much needed sunlight. This might have long term effects on our bodies, so a good dive trip to a dream destination might be all you need to balance your Vitamin D intake! The advantages? Stronger bones, reduced inflammations, enhanced immune system, lower risks of infections, heart disease, arthritis and type 2 diabetes, to name a few!
Scuba diving is a happy activity which transforms our mood and makes us feel accomplished and serene: these results are achieved thanks to the release of our “happy hormones”. Dopamine helps regulate motivation levels, so an achievement such as gaining your certification, reaching that particular depth or visiting a shipwreck for the first time will enhancement your dopamine levels. Serotonin plays a key role in boosting your general happiness and self-esteem. Scuba diving maintains healthy levels of both hormones and makes you feel good about yourself, allowing you also to experience better sleep, rejuvenating and truly refreshing.
Scuba divers will likely not be stuck in a single place, but travel the world looking for different environments, new conditions and exciting adventures. We get to see great places that are not accessible to the majority of the population, even some remote locations that have little to offer to non-divers. Traveling becomes the way to explore and witness the wonders of nature, and we just can’t get enough of it!
An interesting outcome of becoming a scuba diver, is that most people get so hooked up that they might decide to continue their education and even switch to the professional side. Becoming a Divemaster or even a Scuba Instructor is the key to a satisfying, exciting and rewarding career that can take place in the best places in the world and will generate not only a decent income, but also great memories and relationships.