Sick of the gym or the cold winter weather? Then it's time to try the new workout that celebs like Jessica Alba, Sandra Bullock, Katie Holmes, and Nina Dobrev of the CW show The Vampire Diaries love: scuba diving! Although scuba diving may seem like more of a fun vacation activity rather than a workout, scuba burns tons of calories while tightening and toning your body.
"Scuba diving provides a full body workout that combines cardio and strength training to burn calories, tone muscles and even improve breathing" says Theresa Kaplan, director of communications for The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). "Although your body is buoyant underwater and you feel virtually weightless while scuba diving, maneuvering through water requires constant motion by your entire body, thus toning and strengthening muscles in your thighs, shoulders and your core."
In fact, just 30 minutes of scuba diving can burn up to 400 calories for the average woman. Most diving excursions last about 30 to 45 minutes, so depending on the diver’s experience level and the type of dive, it's not uncommon to burn 500+ calories during one workout.
One of the best things about scuba diving though — and the reason why so many celebrities enjoy it — is because it doesn't feel like a workout.
"The act of exploring the underwater world and being one amongst a sea of unique creatures and organisms is an exhilarating and life-changing experience unlike no other," Kaplan says. "Scuba diving provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, which is why so many people, celebrities included, are drawn to this activity."
While many celebrities go scuba diving in tropical areas — Dobrev recently earned her Open Water Diver certification at the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa over the holiday season — you don't have to go to a beach to scuba. PADI, which is the world’s largest recreational scuba diving organization, has more than 6,000 dive centers and resorts and 135,000 PADI instructors worldwide. For those who don’t live near open water, they can still learn how to scuba dive in a confined pool at their local PADI dive center, Kaplan says.
"PADI offers a Discover Scuba Experience for those who aren’t quite ready to dive into the certification process, but want to experience the act of breathing underwater," she says. "For those who are ready to start their certification process, PADI provides a wide range of courses such as Open Water Diver, which can be started at a local dive center or online through PADI’s eLearning option."
One of the best things about scuba diving though is that it does give you a unique adventure to go along with your workout. For example, one can spot Whale Sharks in Utila, see Manta Rays at night in Kona or swim along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Kaplansays.
No matter where or why you scuba though, be sure to warm-up, stretch and hydrate just like you would for any other workout.
"Although you may not feel it underwater, you are actually sweating and exerting energy while scuba diving, so it’s important to stay hydrated during your diving excursion," Kaplan says. "Getting plenty of rest and stretching beforehand will also help prevent any cramping underwater and will allow you to swim through the waters with ease."
Have you tried scuba diving? Where have you been? Do you want to try it? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.