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Maintaining Fitness to Dive

Craig Bender   Dec 24, 2019

Though diving is primarily a leisurely recreational sport, it requires a level of
fitness that can be achieved only through physical training. Both strength
and endurance are needed to ensure that you can manage the range of
effort diving can demand. Would your physical ability allow you to
undertake a long surface swim in a strong or changing current? Would you
be able to participate in buddy assistance or even rescue? These are
strenuous tasks that require preparation and fitness. All divers are advised
to establish regular fitness routines that include strength, cardiorespiratory
and flexibility components. When putting together a fitness routine, consider the following:
? Divers must stay fit with additional activities outside of diving, such as swimming laps,
performing flexibility and balance exercises, and strength training.
? Regular physical activity, including aerobic and muscle?strengthening activity, is essential to
maintain physical fitness.
? If you are over 40 and do not exercise regularly, consult your physician before you start
? Review the physical activity guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services on
? Divers should dedicate time to fin swimming, as these skills are necessary for swimming against
currents. Divers without fin?swimming skills may not be able to create sufficient propulsion to
overcome strong currents even if they have high aerobic capacity for muscular work.
? At least six weeks prior to a dive trip, gradually increase your level of physical activity.
? Join your local dive club for more specific training opportunities.
? Visit to find fitness routines tailored toward divers.
To avoid an increased risk of decompression sickness, DAN recommends avoiding strenuous exercise for
24 hours after diving.
Emphasizing fitness to dive is not aimed at keeping people out of the water, but at finding ways they can
safely participate in diving. For more information on fitness to dive, visit