At 95, the world’s oldest scuba diver is hoping to help other older people see the importance of exercise, and that with a good level of fitness, you can still take on physical challenges no matter how old you are. In order to have a go at scuba diving, you will need to undergo medical screening, training in water safety and instruction in diving techniques. However, your age needn’t be a limiting factor to what you can achieve, and with time to focus on your own goals, later in life is a great time to start.
Dive Right In
In retirement, you have the time to do the things you love and try your hand at new stimulating activities. If you are physically fit, you can’t be too old to scuba dive, but if you’ve never done anything like it before, you may be hesitant to try. If you do decide to take the plunge, you’ll be in good company. A survey by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors found that scuba diving is growing in popularity amongst older age groups, and in Britain, almost a third of divers are 45 or older. With advances in technology and a deeper knowledge of the physiological effects of diving, the risks for older participants are reducing.
Improve Lung Capacity
Whatever your age, scuba diving does require a high level of physical fitness, and good lung function is vital. Lower lung function can leave you more vulnerable to respiratory health issues that will prevent you from diving. However, although a decrease in lung function starts at around the age of 35, there are a number of exercises that can improve lung capacity. By not smoking, and through exercising and practicing breathing techniques, a level of function adequate for diving can be maintained as you age.
Reverse Physical Decline
As well as impairment of lung function, other barriers to diving include being overweight and reduced muscle mass. However, the impact of these health issues can be reversed with regular exercise. About 50% of the decline in physical fitness in old age is not due to physiological aging but to inactivity and poor lifestyle choices. By building up your stamina through exercise, you can reach a level of fitness that will allow you to take up diving regardless of your age.
With more time in retirement to concentrate on your own well being, it’s a great time to push yourself physically and mentally to meet a new challenge like scuba diving. By keeping as fit as possible, staying a healthy weight and maintaining your muscle strength, your age should not stop you enjoying your new leisure activity.
Article kindly submitted by Jen Johnson