We are blessed to live in a nation with such a long seafaring history, and a love of the ocean is truly part of Emirati culture. I’ve long enjoyed diving, not only right here in the UAE but across the globe.
It’s fascinating to take a glimpse into what constitutes more than 70% of our planet. Through my years of experience in scuba diving, I’ve gained enormous respect for our oceans and the environment.
But over and above the joy of spending time underwater, there are some incredible health benefits that you may not be aware of – so indulge me while I share them.
You’re underwater. The key thing to remember is to never stop breathing. While that might be obvious, by concentrating on the breath, one achieves focus, and it engenders a more relaxed feeling. Deep breathing techniques used while diving is similar to the ones used while meditating.
We all know that when we are feeling stressed during the working day, we’re supposed to take some purposeful deep breaths. When diving, this is, of course, vital. Naturally, learning to breathe more deeply and steadily translates to living a more relaxed life on land as well.
The silent world underwater drives me to focus on the environment and on my breathing – which leads to a meditative state. When your mind is squarely focused on watching marine life, your mind is naturally distracted from the mundane, often stressful “day-to-day” issues, allowing the brain to forget about everything else as long as the dive lasts. Of course, this helps the body and mind to restore their natural balance. You emerge from a dive feeling refreshed and new.
Increased Dopamine and Serotonin Levels
For me, and many scuba divers, the experience releases our “happy hormones” –dopamine and serotonin. These play a big role in our happiness and reward systems. Keeping up your dopamine and serotonin levels obviously contributes to better mental health. I’m certainly not the only one who finds underwater a happy place to be in. Studies have shown that the bright colours of aquatic life and the environment create happiness.
As I mentioned above, taking part in scuba diving brings greater awareness of the need to protect our marine world. And with greater understanding comes a greater desire to act more sustainably–which brings happy feelings and the associated health and mental well-being benefits.
Like a lot of exercises, diving leads to better sleep. But add in the experience of a day spent underwater, and you’ll often find you have more vivid dreams and wake up feeling more well-rested and rejuvenated.
While it’s a relaxing sport, it’s a surprisingly good muscular and cardiovascular workout. So, as with any form of physical exercise, it leaves you in a state where sleep is better and more beneficial.
And let’s not forget that scuba diving helps boost confidence and self-esteem. Learning the sport takes courage and determination, so once mastered, divers often feel more capable and confident in other areas of their lives as well.
I’m sure there are many, many more benefits too. If you haven’t ever taken the leap into diving, why not give it a go this winter season? You won’t regret it!