Scuba can be a lazy sport, but it is a physical activity and as such, being in good physical health is important.
Some muscles are more valuable than others in scuba, for instance:
Glutes: Nothing like walking up 30 or 40 stairs, dripping wet, carrying 20 lbs of lead weight to let you know your ass is dragging. You will also be climbing up ladders on boats. And squatting to pick up tanks or weights. Strong glutes go a long way.
Abs: This is a funny one, but oftentimes on the boat, I see people put their gear on while seated and then grunt, struggling to pull their gear forward and up with them! In this case, it’s about core strength. If your core is not strong enough to take the weight of your bcd and integrated weights, it’s going to be very hard to stand up with your gear on.
Calves: SCUBA is all swimming legs, no swimming arms. Although this is a hard lesson to learn for many, once you stop using your arms and wasting your air, you may find an increase in calf cramps: your calves may not be used to that much love! Even if your calves are super tone, you may still get cramps due to dehydration or malnourishment. Prepare yourself for long surface swims with some calf exercises.
Heart: Scuba puts a lot of pressure on your heart, and being heart healthy is important. Plus, doing cardio to strengthen your heart can help you prepare for surface swims, or long dives powered exclusively by your legs. If you can’t walk a mile comfortably, or go up a set of stairs without getting winded, you should not be diving. This is a very serious topic, as many people will die from heart attacks while diving, and if you are a smoker, or live a sedentary life style, scuba is not for you.
Shoulders: Tank lifting, weight lifting, swimming. Having strong shoulders can make the weight lighter, and your life easier.
In general, scuba can be very easy going. Once you’re in the water, and weightless, and cruising using your fins, and the current to your advantage, it can all feel like a breeze. But if the conditions turn on you, you may find that you are the mercy of your weaknesses.
stay strong, divers.