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Scuba diving is a great water activity. Aside from the relaxation it can provide, it can also be a form of physical activity that can help you lose weight. But, how many calories do you burn scuba diving?
Generally, a scuba diver burns 300 to 600 calories per hour. However, the amount of calories you burn depends on the water temperature, your equipment weight, your gender and age, the difficulty of the dive, and other environmental influences like currents.
If you’re wondering why scuba diving can be a great choice for weight loss, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the factors that can affect the number of calories you can burn while scuba diving.
What Are the Factors That Can Affect the Amount of Calories You Burn Scuba Diving?
Scuba diving is beneficial for people who want to stay fit and active, even more so to those wanting to lose a few pounds. Here are the factors that can determine how many calories you burn scuba diving:
1. Water Temperature
One of the major factors that can affect the calories you can lose is the temperature. Normally, our body temperature when we’re on land is 98 degrees Fahrenheit. But, if our bodies are submerged in water, we’re exposed to lower temperatures.
As a result, our bodies go through a process called thermogenesis or thermoregulation. This is a function of our metabolism, where it produces heat within the body by burning calories and using energy.
Therefore, the colder the water temperature, the more our metabolism speeds up to maintain correct core temperatures. On average, scuba diving for 15 minutes can have a similar Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR of an hour spent exercising at the gym.
However, our metabolic rate doesn’t only increase during our exposure to cold waters. Even tropical waters ranging from 77 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit can contribute to our BMR because our metabolism seeks to let our bodies adapt to these temperatures.
For instance, an hour spent scuba diving in tropical waters can burn 300 calories, which is equivalent to the calories shed during hiking.
2. Water Depth
Aside from the temperature, the depth of water can also promote a higher Basal Metabolic Rate. Scuba divers can choose between a deep dive and shallow dive.
As the name suggests, a deep dive or boat dive is diving in higher depths, averaging between around 190 to 420 feet. Whereas, surface depth ranges between 30 to 40 feet.
In exchange for vibrant coral reefs and a better view of beautiful marine life, deep diving means you’ll have to deal with more water pressure.
Compared to surface diving, deep diving requires your lungs to work harder to breathe against the water pressure during descent and ascent. Hence, your caloric consumption can increase significantly, which can lead to burning more calories than other cardio exercises like running or jogging.
Typically, deep diving can burn up to 400 to 700 calories, while jogging sheds up to 500 calories per hour.
3. Gender and Age
Another factor that can affect the number of calories you burn is gender and age. For example, younger divers have a higher metabolic rate than older divers, so they burn more calories while scuba diving.
Moreover, gender plays a role in determining the number of calories you lose. Men tend to burn 40% more calories than women because they have higher muscle mass. These lean muscle masses require more energy, therefore increasing their metabolic rate.
4. Fin Kicking and Underwater Currents
Diving fins or flippers aid movement while scuba diving. But to move efficiently underwater, you need to use several muscle groups like your legs, glute, and back muscles. This not only improves your strength muscles but can also engage your core.
In addition, core engagement can lead to improved torso strength, the flexibility of your lower body, and better posture.
Most beginners tend to use up more energy and breathe more air than professional divers because they kick their diving fins more and flap their arms to seek comfort. That’s even more pronounced when divers are swimming against underwater currents.
Typically, divers can burn up to 600 calories per hour if they use their arms and legs so much.
5. Weight of Your Scuba Gear
The weight of your scuba gear can also contribute to the calories you shed scuba diving.
An average aluminum 80 scuba tank can weigh about 35 pounds, a wetsuit weighs eight pounds. Other equipment like the regulator, mask, and flippers can have a total weight of 15 pounds.
Carrying all your dive equipment before and after diving can add physical exertion to the activity. So, it can contribute to your calorie burn.
Why Is Scuba Diving a Good Exercise?
For healthy people, scuba diving is a combination of physical and recreational activity, where they can enjoy the panoramic view of the ocean and exercise at the same time.
Here are a few reasons why scuba diving is a good exercise:
1. Increases Production of Happy Hormones
These hormones are associated with feelings of happiness and motivation, which can improve your mental health and well-being.
2. A Low-Impact Exercise
Scuba diving can help you burn calories without straining your muscles. Since your body is submerged in water, you aren’t required to support the weight of your upper body.
This makes the activity easier on your joints and ligaments.
For older people with weakened bones or sport-induced joint injuries, scuba diving can be an ideal exercise!
3. Helps Improve Quality of Sleep
A day of scuba diving usually concludes with a good night’s sleep.
Plus, retiring for the night with all those feel-good hormones can leave you rejuvenated and refreshed for the next day.
4. Can Lower Blood Pressure
Diving in water with a lower temperature encourages your body to stay warm throughout the activity. During this warm-up process, your body reduces your heart rate and blood pressure.
While the initial response to diving is adrenaline rush and excitement, your blood pressure lowers once your body has adapted to the temperature.
5. A Great Breathing Exercise
Divers are taught breathing techniques to allow them to breathe safely underwater. These breathing techniques can help calm your nervous system by letting you focus on your breathing alone.
This way, you can soothe your nerves, optimize your air consumption, and increase your lung capacity.
Like meditation or yoga, these breathing techniques can also promote self-awareness and good mental health.
So, how many calories do you burn scuba diving? Ultimately, it comes down to different factors like temperature, depth, age and gender, the underwater current, and your dive equipment.
Not only is scuba diving a fun and calming activity, but it can also serve as cardio and muscle-toning exercise.
Although it might look like simply floating around in the water, keep in mind that it also requires physical exertion. While this sounds great for people who want to lose some weight, it isn’t ideal for people with medical problems like obesity.