The Health Benefits of Snorkeling
Whether you’re looking forward to trying it for the first time, or you’re already hooked on Maui snorkeling excursions, knowing the associated health benefits can enhance your enjoyment of this wonderful experience. Not only that, but you may find yourself pleasantly surprised by all the good things that snorkeling does for both the body and mind. How often do we find an activity that’s gentle on the body while helping to keep us fit and soothing our stress? Yes, snorkeling can do all this for us and more. Here’s how.
Breathing: When you’re snorkeling, breathing tends to be more deliberate, and requires some extra effort from your lungs because you’re breathing through a tube. Think of it as a mild breathing exercise as you explore the underwater world from the safety of the surface. It helps increase the strength of your lungs, and therefor, your maximal oxygen uptake. This is an important part of your aerobic fitness.
Joint Mobility: While there’s no end to the land-based exercises that can put stress on your joints, snorkeling opens a whole new world of opportunity for gentle exercise. It’s a particularly wonderful option if your mobility is limited because you suffer from joint pain, obesity or stiffness. In the water, your buoyancy prevents the pressure of your weight on your joints. In fact, snorkeling has been recommended by health care experts for those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and conditions that cause inflammation, including neck problems. The snorkel and mask prevents the need for movements that can cause neck pain. As you get more comfortable with snorkeling, you can also increase the duration and intensity of your sessions over time as your fitness improves. Speaking of fitness…
Fitness: Snorkeling strengthens a number of important muscles throughout the body, such as your calves, ankles, quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors, among others. Because it’s a full-body exercise, you not only work the bigger muscles, but the many smaller ones that play a vital role in stabilizing your body and preventing injuries. Snorkeling helps enhance your strength and endurance, burning an estimated 300 calories an hour. How do you know whether your session was adequately challenging? Well, falling asleep the minute your face hits the pillow is a good sign.
Mental Health: Not only does the aforementioned exercise enhance the good feelings that endorphins create, but the steady breathing we talked about earlier helps play a role in soothing stress. Some compare it to the effects of meditation, which is also enhanced by the receptive state that you’re in when you’re exploring a fascinating new underwater world. Observing the natural behaviors of vibrant marine life has been shown to positively influence those with ADHD and anxiety disorders. The steady breathing, gentle exercise and delightful sights come together for a relaxing experience that can ease the mind, and also put the world into a new perspective.
Cardiovascular Health: Because snorkeling combines steady exercise and breathing, along with cooling temperatures, it can greatly enhance your circulation. It increases the heart rate enough to strengthen your heart muscles, decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and other related conditions. As it increases your lung capacity, oxygenation of the bloodstream can also improve, which helps to fuel the health of your entire body.
With all of these benefits in mind, we hope you’ll take the time to do some snorkeling on your Maui vacation, whether you try it at a beach, or join us aboard a Hawaii snorkeling excursion. Mahalo!