Monday, May 05, 2008

Open Water Swimming vs Scuba Diving

The UK-based Guardian over the weekend published an interesting article comparing the health benefits of open water swimming and scuba diving.

It went a little something like this...

Open water swimming

Shapely legs:
Breaststroke - often favoured by open-water swimmers - means the lower-body muscles do the lion's share of the work, giving the leg muscles a challenging workout. 4 stars

Weight loss: Not as good as you may think, possibly because it increases appetite: research found that swimmers gained an average of 2.2kg (5lb) when put on a three-month exercise programme for weight loss. 2 stars

Cardiorespiratory fitness: Professional swimmers use 50% less oxygen - so they're better at conserving their breath - to achieve the same speed in front crawl as untrained swimmers. 5 stars

Upper-body strength: Around 80% of the work in front crawl is performed by the back, shoulders and arms. The upper body is taxed less in breaststroke, but the muscles still work continuously. 5 stars

Convenience: An accessible sport, but not something you should do on your own - it's important to check that the water is safe before you take the plunge. Hypothermia is also a risk. 2 stars

Scuba diving

Shapely legs:
Swimming with fins (flippers) is like water-based weight-training - firming the front of the thighs as you kick down and the back of the thighs as you kick up. 4 stars

Weight loss: Surprisingly good for burning energy. Someone weighing approximately 70kg (11st) burns 13 calories a minute while scuba diving, so a 45-minute dive would use 585 calories. 3 stars

Cardiorespiratory fitness: According to the British Thoracic Society, scuba divers tend to have larger-than-average lungs and an increased vital capacity (the maximum volume of air exhaled after inhalation). 4 stars

Upper-body strength: The back, shoulders and arms get a certain amount of work lugging around equipment, but once in the water, the upper body gets off lightly. Arms are usually folded across the chest or kept by the sides. 2 stars

Convenience: Even if you decide to dive in the UK, it's still an equipment-heavy, location-specific, expensive sport that requires a licence, and therefore tuition. 1 star

Hat tip: The lovely ladies over at Two Tank


TwoTank said...

Thanks for the shout out! Great site!

Hugs and fishes,
Jenny Mo

Neutral Dive Gear said...

"Thanks for the shout out! Great site!"

No problem! Thanks!