Mindfulness and meditation are buzzwords of the moment as it’s widely recognised that taking time-out from demanding lives is beneficial when it comes to looking after our mental health and well-being.

Diving with Aqualung

For those seeking alternative ways of alleviating stress and anxiety, calming a busy mind and being present in the moment or for those simply looking for a new challenge – scuba diving is an unexpected option promoting a fit and healthy body and mind. I personally love scuba diving – it’s a fantastic hobby and when you’re in the water it is so peaceful and so much fun!

Diving in the Maldives: Credit Marco Carè©

According to PADI®, the world’s largest recreational diver training organisation, scuba diving has myriad benefits with many divers testifying to its healing power, while benefiting from exploring the ocean and interacting with marine life, experiencing new cultures and meeting like-minded people.

No longer the domain of those interested in extreme sport – more and more people are taking to the underwater world to relax and experience tranquillity while keeping physically fit and mentally healthy.

It’s quiet underwater and diving gives you a break from your normal routine. Phones and laptops won’t work underwater, so you can enjoy a digital-detox while you leave your worries on the surface.

Similar to yoga and meditation, scuba diving focuses on breathing, which is calming for the mind and body. Scuba diving requires controlled, rhythmic breathing which can significantly increase our ability to cope with emotional feelings, improve sleep and increase general wellbeing and happiness.

Flexibility and strength are increased as muscles tend to work harder in the water due to resistance of the water and swimming against the current, helping to maintain and increase fitness and endurance levels. Scuba diving and swimming not only strengthens your legs, but it can also build up your core.

Credit Marco Carè©

Cortisol levels decrease in the water, reducing blood pressure and heart rate and aiding relaxation. Before and after a dive, the body is often exposed to sunlight increasing vitamin D levels to help keep bones healthy and strong, and exposure to the sun also increases endorphin production within the brain.

No two dives are ever the same and once you’ve taken the plunge below the surface an entirely new underwater world with an abundance of marine life awaits. From stunning coral reefs, brightly coloured fish and wrecks to swimming with dolphins, manta rays and sea turtles – each dive is bound to be an experience you’ll never forget.

Beautiful diving in the Maldives: Credit Marco Carè©

Diving provides opportunities to meet others with common interests. If you are not already diving with a partner, you will be paired up with a dive ‘buddy’; and whether you’re on a dive boat or diving from shore, it’s a always an easy way to make friends and meet new people whom you can share your experience with.

While there are plenty of opportunities to scuba dive in Europe diving often leads to travel to other parts of the world, bringing holiday, adventure, new experiences and great social benefits. For those looking for travel recommendation, PADI Travel offers expert insight for local and international dive destinations to help you find the perfect holiday for your particular interests.

Whether you’re a novice and want to ‘test the waters’, you’ve tried an introductory dive on your travels and want to explore more, or you’re an experienced scuba diver seeking advanced certifications, you can enjoy this exhilarating sport at more than 6,600 PADI Dive Centres and Resorts around the world.

For more information or to find your nearest PADI dive centre, visit www.padi.com.

About PADI

PADI® (Professional Association of Diving Instructors®) is the world’s largest recreational diver training organisation with more than 6,600 dive centres and resorts and 137,000 professional members worldwide. Celebrating industry leadership for over 50 years, PADI has remained dedicated to introducing new divers to the thrill of scuba diving and enhancing the skills of experienced divers. Issuing 1 million certifications each year, PADI makes underwater exploration, travel and adventure accessible to people around the world while maintaining the highest industry standards for dive training, safety and customer service. All PADI programs, from entry-level through professional-level training, fall under strict educational standards monitored for worldwide consistency and quality. Throughout its deep history, PADI has displayed a longstanding commitment to environmental conservation through its course offerings and alignment with organizations such as the Project AWARE® Foundation. PADI is committed to supporting social and environmental efforts through its Pillars of ChangeSM, empowering divers with information to get involved with causes they care about in a tangible way.

For more information, visit www.padi.com and for more information about scuba equipment visit www.aqualung.com/uk/