Years ago, during one of my open water certification dives in La Jolla, California, I remember seeing my first field of sand dollars. Hundreds of dives later, I still enjoy seeing them underwater or on the beach. I affectionately call them glory dollars and think of them as gifts from the sea. Imagine my surprise when during a recent beach walk I found this tiny sand dollar. Amazing!
On this particular day I did not have time for my usual long beach walk. This tiny sand dollar reminded me that every little bit counts. Studies show that exercise bouts of just 10 minutes in duration are beneficial for overall health and reducing the risk of illness and disease. Ideal short-term exercise sessions for example include walking a mile in 12 to 20-minutes. For weight loss, longer exercise sessions at slightly higher intensity are recommended.
Even if divers cannot get outdoors for a walk, opportunities to increase physical activity can be incorporated into a daily routine by taking the stairs instead of an elevator or parking as far from entrances as possible. One of my fitness clients has just started to ride his bike to work. It is only 15-minutes each way, but this increases his physical activity by 30-minutes five days a week in addition to our training sessions together.
And there is even better news. The more divers exercise the greater the benefits. Health is no small matter, exercise is the great equalizer and the results are Amazing!
It is always a pleasure to present at dive shows and dive centers. I usually open my presentations with an invitation to divers to ask questions. This helps me get to know individual divers and provide meaningful information. To get the conversation started I often remind divers that we are all in this together. Diving is one of my personal motivations for maintaining and improving health and fitness.
Although we are all in this together, this doesn't mean that divers want everybody to know every detail of their personal health. Beyond their personal physician who can divers trust with questions about health and physical fitness for diving?
I receive calls and emails from divers around the world asking fitness, nutrition and related health questions. My policy of confidentiality allows divers to gain trusted information on many topics. I offer advice within my scope of professional expertise for all ages relating to more than 30 medical conditions including fitness therapy, nutrition, sports performance, general fitness and fitness for diving, surfing, paddling and golf. My one-on-one training portfolio includes over 50,000 hours of private and small group training.
Confidential consultations are fee-based in 30, 60 and 90-minute increments. Complete fitness and nutrition programs include health and fitness assessments, nutrition recommendations and individualized workouts with exercise illustrations for independent programming. Private personal training sessions range from 30 minutes to 75 minutes. Divers may contact me directly by telephone at (760) 271-6069 or by email at email@example.com.
The "runner's high," a "feel better" sensation often experienced by long-distance runners, is generally attributed to high levels of endorphins in the the brain. Researchers have known for some time that exercise increases endorphin production. In addition to improving the efficiency of the heart, lungs and vascular system, aerobic training can actually produce an anti-depressant type of effect including improvements in emotional and intellectual health.
Aerobic exercise improves mood stability often allowing those under a doctor's care to reduce anti-depressant and anxiety medications. Improvements in self-esteem, increased confidence, and a more positive outlook for the future are also benefits of the effects of physical activity on brain chemistry.
Studies indicate that aerobic exercise improves mental acuity resulting in better concentration, enhanced ability to direct thoughts, and improved memory, all important mental performance activities for divers. Further neurophysicological advantages include a reduction in the symptoms of diseases such as Parkinson's, improved sleep patterns, and diminishing the craving responses during smoking cessation.
Cardiorespiratory fitness is essential for scuba diving. Incorporating aerobic exercise in the diver's daily routine is definitely not a "no-brainer" but it isn't difficult to achieve. The results of the above-mentioned studies were accomplished in only five weeks with 30 to 60 minutes of exercise three times a week.
Examples of aerobic exercise are walking, jogging, running, swimming, rowing, cycling, jumping rope, aerobics classes, and dancing. Fitness centers and home gyms provide equipment such as treadmills, stairclimbers, ellipiticals and exercise bikes. Aerobic exercise may also be performed outdoors almost anywhere and can be a family activity, social time for moms while children are at school, or tranquil time alone.
Exercise is NOT recommended 24 hours before or after scuba diving making it challenging for divers to both dive and exercise during traditional two-day weekends. The three-day Labor Day weekend however affords divers an opportunity to dive several times and still enjoy a scuba fitness workout. Long weekends also provide opportunities for extended exercise sessions, family fitness and fitness as part of outdoor recreation.
Many of our local lagoons are undiscovered playgrounds for the entire family. The Aqua Hedionda Lagoon in the City of Carlsbad, the location of the North Coast YMCA Aquatic Park, even allows swimming and boating. All vessels require day or annual use permits, so plan in advance. The Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation is hosting its 7th Annual Lagoon Clean Up in October. The clean up offers participants a two-hour kayak tour of the area. Buena Vista Lagoon is a favorite of fisherman. All the lagoons offer amazing opportunities for bird watchers and naturalists.
Once of the best forms of outdoor exercise for scuba divers is walking on the beach. South Carlsbad State Beachoffers a 3.9 mile stretch of beach with moderate terrain for most ages and abilities. Depending on the diver's fitness level, the sand and surf, set a pace of between 12 and 20-minutes per mile. Check the tides before heading out. Low tides for Labor Day are extremely low in the early morning and evening. Early-to-mid morning and mid-to-late afternoon appear to be the best times for walking this weekend.
Remember to use sun protection, wear comfortable clothes and athletic shoes, and bring a small snack and water. Enjoy the long weekend.
Performing the basic crunch in this fashion reduces recruitment of the hip flexors and allows more focus on the anterior abdominals. Begin with a natural position of the spine. If needed a small folded towel or pad may be placed under the low back for added support. Contract the abdominals (pull the belly button toward the spine), place hands behind the head for gentle support, lift the chin upward and inhale deeply through the nose. Exhale while continuing to pull the belly button toward the spine and lifting the upper body as shown until the curve of the low back flattens against the floor or pad. Increasing the lift of the upper body any further would involve enough other muscles to become less efficient and increase risk of injury. Inhale while maintaining the abdominal contraction and lowering the upper body to the starting position and repeat.
Modification: Divers with precluding conditions of the upper spine, neck and shoulders may perform the abdominal contraction portion of this exercise for repetitions without raising the upper body and with a pad under the neck.