Coronavirus Quarantine: Four Things to do as a diver stuck at home
As the coronavirus continues to cause concern worldwide, it forces many people to stay and work from home as much as possible. Bound to our own four walls, it doesn’t seem like there’s much we can do to scratch that itch of travelling and exploring the great unknown, our Ocean.
In times like these, it’s important to stay optimistic and keep a healthy mindset. To make the best use of our quarantine, we compiled a few practical tips to keep ourselves healthy and ready for our next dive trip.
Do regular physical exercises, but don’t forget your toes
Are you already working out? Perfect. However, do you treat your toes with a designated routine? Don’t worry; it is pretty unlikely that your workout routine engages your toes very much. But consider, when you’re finning, you’re pointing your toes and extending the muscles in your feet. Lack of training results in many divers getting foot cramps – no matter how fit you are.
Lay on your back and point your toes, stretching your calf and foot muscles as straight as possible. Hold this posture for one minute, then release. Repeat that three times with a one-minute break between. It’s a great stretch or warm exercise, which you can also do sitting in your (home) office.
The right posture and back strength also play an essential role for divers – don’t forget, air tanks are heavy! It’s critical to strengthen your core muscles. You can, for example, do some simple back extension exercises:
Lay face down with your arms bent and your hands interlocked underneath your forehead. Lift your head, shoulders, and torso off the floor as much as you can. While doing that, keep your hands on the floor. Hold the stretch for five seconds, then relax and repeat. The core principle also extends to the way you sit at your desk. Sitting up straight will improve your core muscles.
Start meditating, it will improve your diving experience
Meditation creates harmony between mind, body, and spirit. It reduces stress and helps you find inner peace. Carrying that internal peace with you helps you to manage your day-to-day life – it’s a pretty crazy world out there right now. It also helps you appreciate more of what you discover underwater.
Diving requires concentration, quick responses, and a relaxed state of mind. Otherwise, it can be pretty challenging to keep your cool underwater and avoid freaking out. That is true for seasoned tech divers exploring a new cave or wreck, but especially for beginner divers.
Frequent meditation helps you to keep your concentration up and to remain calm. By reducing your stress levels and raising your mindfulness, you will have an easier time becoming part of the marine life you encounter during your dive. While underwater, why not experience it to the fullest and appreciate every little aquatic encounter coming your way.
Work on your breathing techniques to extend your dive
When you learn to dive, the first thing you are taught is never to hold your breath. Correct breathing is a crucial skill, which takes experience to master. Beginners, for example, need to train a lot to suppress that reflex to hold your breath underwater. Focusing on your breathing technique gets you more relaxed, and lets you extend your time spent underwater, as you’re using less air from your tank.
The “breath-up” technique is one of the most widely used exercises in the freediving community. It is a cycle of diaphragm breathing – or belly breathing – which aims to lower your heart rate and to prepare your body to stay relaxed for an extended period. The very same technique is also helpful when feeling stressed out in the middle of the day. Just take a few minutes for yourself and follow the simple instructions:
Put yourself in a comfortable position. You can lay down, sit, or stand during the exercise. Place one hand on your stomach. Place the other hand on your chest. Take one deep breath and use your breath to push your stomach-hand out, while keeping the chest-hand at place. If you take a deep enough breath, you will feel your chest expand after your stomach has already expanded. Hold that deep breath for two counts, then exhale slowly over ten counts, then hold again for two counts. Repeat this cycle for up to ten minutes.
Search for inspiration for your next dive trip
It’s no secret, we all keep a list of destinations we’d like to visit. Under the current situation, not being able to travel and dive outside your close environment, it is even more important to stay inspired.
There are a lot of resources online to get information about new, exciting dive spots. Maybe you follow some dive blogs, are subscribed to a magazine, follow some people on YouTube, or browse your social media feed. Let me plug another way – the Paralenz way!
We offer a free app you can download and create an account. You upload all your recorded dives to the app, and both organize and edit all your footage. To get inspired, check out the “Explore” tab to dive into footage from like-minded divers on an actual world map. And while you’re at it, why not put a dot on the map yourself? There’s a high chance that your footage might end up convincing another diver to put that dive spot on their own bucket list.