Why Snorkeling Is Good for Your Mental Health
By Luke Douglas
For most of us, summertime is when we take some time off work and travel to some more exotic destinations. In case you’re one of those people who love the seaside, swimming, sunbathing and all the other fun activities which accompany a vacation by the beach, then you’ve probably tried snorkeling at some point, or at least given it a thought. If you haven’t, you definitely should, since this is one of those activities which have a wide range of benefits on your body, but also your mind. If you still haven’t got your snorkeling gear, here are some benefits of snorkeling on your mental health and some good reasons to try it this summer season.
Improves your overall fitness
Not only is snorkeling fun, but it’s also a great way to exercise. While snorkeling, you activate your quads, calves, ankles and hamstrings, among other things, and the workout enhances your body strength and endurance. Plus, it burns calories, so it can help you lose weight. And although these all sound a lot like benefits to your body alone, don’t forget that physical activity leads to an increase in endorphin production. This feel-good chemical can relieve you of pain, but also make you happier and give you more self-esteem.
Puts you in a good mood
Snorkeling is a cardiovascular exercise. This means that your heart muscle becomes stronger and your heart rate increased. It also means that snorkeling lowers the chances of various health issues, such as hypertension, heart disease or heart failure. However, that’s not nearly all. Cardiovascular exercises also contribute to endorphin release, and that can boost your mood significantly. This is also one of the reasons some therapists and psychologists recommend regular workout as a form of treatment for depression and anxiety, and what better way to exercise than to explore the underwater world?
Promotes better breathing
Whether you’ve just quit smoking, or you’re simply out of shape and want to increase your lung capacity, snorkeling is just the activity for you. Snorkelers breathe through a tube, which causes resistance and forces your lungs to work harder. This is why it’s important what equipment you use, so make sure you get the best full face snorkel mask on the market, so that you don’t have to worry about fogging or leaking, and you can breathe through your nose and your mouth at the same time. Furthermore, your breathing is more controlled, which is similar to the way you breathe when you practice yoga or meditation. You also have to breathe deeply and sometimes hold your breath. All these breathing techniques promote calmness and relaxation, relieving you of stress, depression and anxiety to some degree.
Helps you overcome fear
Snorkeling is an excellent choice of activity for overcoming your fears. From the fear of diving, water or fish, to claustrophobia and the fear of trying new things, snorkeling can help with any of them. It can be done in shallow water, which means that, in case you have a panic attack, you can simply stand up at any point. It allows you to get used to wearing a mask and stay underwater, perhaps preparing you for snorkeling in deeper water once you feel safe and comfortable enough, or once you muster the courage. Being underwater can lead to a feeling of freedom and tranquility, but also excitement. These good feelings can lead you towards facing your fears without too much effort, which can consequently greatly improve your quality of life.
Gets you in touch with nature
Other than the physical and mental benefits of snorkeling already listed, there is also the perk of getting connected with nature and all its beauty. Watching the underwater life can be extremely satisfying and can feed your curiosity. All the colorful fish and other sea creatures, as well as their incredible habitats and their amazing behavior are something everybody should see in their lives. Observing them can even help with people suffering from ADHD and some anxiety disorders. Furthermore, any outdoor activity, including the underwater ones, can help regulate your emotions, improve your memory, build up your focus and attention, as well as lower your stress levels by decreasing the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Finally, being submerged in water can give you more sensory awareness, but also increase the feeling of gratefulness and appreciation of what nature offers you.
Snorkeling can be very pleasurable and rewarding, but probably even more so if you do it with a partner. That way you can teach yourself more responsibility, since you don’t only have to ensure your own safety while underwater, but the safety of your partner as well. Sharing this kind of gratifying and extraordinary experience with somebody can lead to new and beautiful friendships. In addition, you’ll get to meet new people. For instance, if you’re a beginner, you may require somebody to teach you the essentials of snorkeling. On the other hand, if you have a lot of snorkeling experience, you’ll gladly use your vacation time to communicate with other divers, so that you can explore the sea bottom and everything else below the sea surface together, finding new places to snorkel and having some joined fun.
Snorkeling can become one of the most astonishing experiences you’ve had in your life. Add to that these benefits to your mental health, and you’ll have something to do all summer long.