Fitness for diving is not one-size-fits-all. Just as important as the proper fit for a wetsuit, BC, fins and mask, it is essential for divers to find the best combination of exercise for good health, diving performance and other personal fitness goals.
The ideal fitness for diving program addresses the health of the individual diver, reduces the risks on human physiology associated with the stresses of the underwater environment, develops the strength, stamina and coordination for handling gear and improves performance for diving. All of this can only be accomplished with a balanced exercise program that incorporates aerobic exercise, good nutrition, strength training and flexibility.
Exercise is preparation for diving. Pushing the body through training adaptions of physical exertion to improve stamina, strength and endurance exceeding the physical demands of diving does not always feel good. But workouts on dry land are necessary so that divers can feel comfortable in the water.
Diving is not a workout, nor should divers think of it as such. If diving feels difficult for any reason in any condition, the diver needs to improve their fitness level. Further, the consensus among medical dive professionals is that the weight loss sometimes experienced when diving is not permanent weight loss, and the increased hunger following diving activities is typically not the result of a profound caloric expenditure because of diving.
Exercise can feel natural and be fun. While training is key for optimum performance, genetics also plays a role in predisposing divers to be ‘good at’ various physical activities. Participating in fitness activities in which the individual diver excels will bring greater success and enjoyment.
A wide range of fun and socially supportive group exercise classes such as Zumba, water aerobics, belly dancing and kick boxing are available to divers. Training with a partner or dive buddy is also a great way to stay motivated.
If fun equates to competitive sports, remember that divers who are athletes may need to change their exercise routine in preparation for diving. This can translate into adding weeks to a pre-competition training schedule but can be as simple as cross training...