Dive into snorkeling or scuba diving!

December 18th, 2013 | By Marjie No Comments

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Experiencing the ocean’s beauty (or a clear lake’s or even river’s) … exercise and fitness … relaxation and recreation. If you’re looking for any of these, snorkeling or scuba diving may be perfect for you!

Children of all ages can snorkel. With or without fins, it’s a fantastic workout. Snorkeling uses virtually every muscle you have … arms, legs, back, ankles, even fingers! And, of course, it’s also wonderful for cardiovascular fitness. As you snorkel, you raise your heart rate, and you increase your lung capacity as well. And, as with any water exercise, snorkeling is a low impact workout, so it’s easier on your joints than higher impact activity. In fact, mobility issues of all kinds present no limits whatsoever to snorkeling. Buoyancy allows everyone to enjoy it, as long as they have the proper training, equipment, and, in some cases, certified personnel.

Snorkeling is a relatively inexpensive activity, especially for beginners. Mask and snorkel, fins if desired, plus a very important item … sunscreen. Did you know that most sunburns experienced by snorkelers are on their backs and the backs of their legs? After all, you’re swimming face down – sometimes for hours – enjoying the view and the exercise. During that time, the sun is beating down on your back and the backs of your legs, so lather up before you hit the water.

Like scuba diving, snorkeling requires carefully controlled breathing. In fact, this is often compared to meditative breathing techniques, so both these activities should provide relaxation and calm not found in most exercise options.

Contrary to what some folks may tell you, snorkeling is not just “a beginner’s scuba” diving activity. It is, in fact, completely different. But it is a good way to get accustomed to breathing while your face is underwater. And you’ll get great exercise, some of which will help you if you decide to try scuba diving at some point. But there are many, many snorkelers who never try scuba diving.

Did you know that “scuba” is actually an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus? Very young children may not be certified for scuba. Most USA programs have a minimum age requirement, but there is no upper age limit! It is truly a lifetime sport! However, some people are not allowed to be certified for scuba. Some medical conditions, including some allergies, can create serious problems for divers, so be sure you check with your physician as well as with a certified scuba instructor AND read the scuba fitness medical questionnaire before enrolling in a scuba diving course. Here in Athens, we are fortunate to have Dolphin Dive Center, which offers classes right at their facility as well as at the Athens YMCA.

Some basic questions to ask when you begin exploring scuba diving:

  • First and foremost, why do I want to learn to scuba dive? If it’s just because scuba diving sounds adventuresome or, worse, because someone else wants you to, stop and rethink it right now. Scuba diving as a recreation activity is all about relaxation, even though there are definitely exercise and excitement components.
  • How strong a swimmer must I be? (And you need to know how strong a swimmer you are.)
  • How do I schedule a “try dive” to see if this is something I’d like to invest time and money in?
  • When and how to I participate in dive classes? What does this entail?
  • Do I have to purchase equipment, or may I rent it?
  • What physical preparation do I need to make to prepare my body and mind for scuba diving?
  • How much money and time will should I plan to invest in order to become a certified diver?

A great place to start asking questions is by calling Dolphin Dive Center at 706-548-DIVE (3483) or visiting their website at www.dolphindiveathens.com. You can also do some reading at: http://goo.gl/MhtPnk and http://goo.gl/pppxqm.

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