Who would have thought that splashing around with fins and snorkel gear on could improve your health too? By looking closer into what happens physically and mentally when you snorkel, we can begin to see how it is not only an enjoyable experience but comes with many health benefits. So what else is going on when we snorkel?
The first health benefit is, of course, moving our bodies, getting a workout without feeling like you are working hard. Floating and moving to suspend yourself in the amazing clear life-giving liquid called water, or to propel your body to the next interesting site, gives your arms, legs, and heart one of the best low impact workouts around. So what are all the benefits?
The Health Benefits Of Snorkeling
The best words to describe snorkeling are peaceful rejuvenation. The restorative and calm experienced while snorkeling is not quickly forgotten and should be on everyone’s bucket list. A gentle yet strenuous workout while experiencing the new sea-life wonders and colors of the underwater world are not to be missed.
Many avid snorkelers describe it as an almost surreal or otherworldly experience; it is the perfect mind and body workout. When snorkeling, our minds switch into a sort of default mode or meditative state where the brain is producing brain waves that are similar to daydreaming. It is this meditative state when our well-being and body benefit most. In this mindful and peaceful state of mind, our stress levels reduce, hypertension, pain and health issues are improved. It is no wonder that snorkeling is such a favorite activity.
It Quiets The Mind
During your snorkeling adventure, about 95% of your body is underwater at any given time, including your ears. While your ears are submerged, you do not hear the usual sounds you are accustomed to hearing. No traffic, no television, no cell phones or radio just the sound of your rhythmic breathing.
This new sort of sound deprivation is giving your busy mind a rest from all of the regular input that we are all so used to in our busy lives. This personal quiet time gives us relief from stresses and anxiety and begins releasing endorphins. Yes, endorphins! When endorphins are low or barely present, we can suffer from depression, pain, diseases and a host of other ailments.
The science of psychiatry likens this quiet time to meditative breathing techniques sought-after by those who practice yoga. Practicing this type of mindfulness while exercising is the very best combination you can do for a healthy mind and body. What happens when your body is isolated from external stimuli of sight and sound?
Default Mode Network In Our Minds
While our brains are in this state of a default mode network, as some experts are calling it, we are producing endorphins. In this state, we can gain peacefulness, insight, creativity and introspection. Endorphins make us happy, and they have health benefits beyond reducing depression. Many painful diseases like Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowl Syndrome at are associated with low levels of endorphins in the gut.
This same stress-reducing mindfulness also happens to a lesser degree when we take a shower. The sound of the shower and feeling of the water flowing over our bodies also places our minds in this default mode. You may have heard, or said yourself, that you always get the best ideas or can more easily problem-solve in the shower, this is the reason why.
Beneficial Blue Noise
Most of us know the effects and benefits of white noise for productivity or pink noise for inducing a peaceful sleep, so let’s consider blue noise. These sound waves are named so because colors in the sound spectrum, compared side-by-side and measured by Hertz to the color spectrum are almost identical. Research is showing that blue noise, which we hear under the shower, near a waterfall, while the wind is blowing or while snorkeling, induces a calm and peaceful feeling.
This feeling stimulates endorphins and de-stresses our minds. Now we can understand why showers and snorkeling may be considered addictive. It gives us a little mini-vacation from our thoughts, stressors, and worries.
When we combine this benefit of snorkeling with a low impact workout, we can see that snorkeling is the perfect exercise and benefits many people, at any physical level, and for any who want to participate.
Who Can Benefit?
Snorkeling is something that can help just about everyone that tries it. By easing pain and improving flexibility, it is perfect for anyone that is overweight or suffers from diseases where inflammation is present. Many doctors and specialists that treat patients with limited mobility or suffer from shoulder, neck, joint and back pain recommend snorkeling. This low impact exercising has shown to not only help in relieving pain but reverse damaging effects from immobility or a sedentary lifestyle.
Those with autoimmune diseases and those that have a difficult time moving due to pain, find snorkeling a good alternative. With little stress to the body and low impact to the joints, a full body cardio fitness workout is finally possible.
Breathing is also improved by snorkeling because the slight resistance and greater exertion increases lung capacity and increases your uptake of oxygen. It is great for your lungs. It is also known to improve your heart and strengthen the heart muscle. Since our heart is a muscle, it is vital to keep exercising it to build and strengthen it and thereby avoid or improve heart problems.
This low-impact, yet comprehensive cardio training will lower risks of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart failure. Who else can benefit?
Great Activity For Children
Snorkeling is a great activity for kids. Studies are now showing that children with ADHD and ADD can benefit from snorkeling. It relieves stress and anxiety, releases endorphins that increase self-confidence and will also teach and aid the child to focus. Adults who deal with adult ADD are also experiencing levels of relief and periods of stress-reducing focus.
The discipline and focus learned while snorkeling is therapeutic and essential for any child’s development. Snorkeling will also open up a world of beautiful living creatures to your child and show them an important life-lesson of respecting and protecting our oceans.
Are There Hidden Benefits To Snorkeling?
Dive phobia can overcome it with continued snorkeling practice. If you have a fear of water or if you have claustrophobia keeping you from the underwater world, snorkeling will begin to ease your fears and help you to be more comfortable in the water. It introduces you to breathing underwater, the method of wearing a mask and breathing through your nose. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, you can just stand up and be out of the water. Knowing this can be a great comfort to many that have mild to major phobias about water or claustrophobia.
If you find the regular snorkel and mask difficult to use you could try a full face snorkel and mask. These revolutionary masks are like breathing underwater like we do on land with 180 degree views of the aquatic life. No more water filling up the snorkel and fog on the lens either.
We are creatures of the sea, our bodies made from elements of the sea. Some even feel a draw to the rhythms of the waves and the peacefulness of the ocean, either on it, in it or at the beach. Those that have snorkeled can attest to the serene surroundings and health improving benefits for our lives.