Being a diver means that you have additional health issues that non-divers don’t really need to worry about as much. We don’t need to be Olympians, but we do need a good degree of fitness. Being fit enough to swim 200 metres without stopping is one of the course criteria.

All divers must follow these health and care guidelines:

  • Keep well hydrated before and after each dive.
  • Avoid colds, which can block sinuses, which are a critical part of the body. Colds can cause equalisation problems, which can be a little painful. So stay healthy and keep your ears cleaned too.
  • Smoking is a definite no go, but unfortunately many divers still continue to smoke and accept the risks involved.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol prior to all dives, and any evening drinks prior to a day of diving should be reduced to nil or very little.
  • Avoid getting sunburn.

Some general tips are:

  • Be medically dive fit and physically dive fit – yoga and stretching exercises will help with your breathing techniques.
  • Eat a piece of fruit before and after each dive – this helps avoid muscle cramps and replaces vitamins depleted during dives. Bananas and watermelon are especially good.
  • Don’t dive if you’re feeling unwell – rest on the boat.
  • Be well hydrated – drink lots of water and avoid carbonated drinks.
  • Be well insulated – change into dry clothes after your dive.
  • Avoid deep, repetitive dives, and reduce diving depths during a weekend of diving.
  • Minimise exercise during and after diving – a nap should always be in order.

As with anything to do with your health, if you are unsure, consult a doctor or a specialised dive doctor.

This article was originally published in March 2013.