Physical fitness is an important consideration for all divers. Adequate levels of physical fitness are necessary to meet both typical and emergent demands of diving. The purpose of this study was to characterize the physical fitness of divers and the physical demands of different forms of diving to improve the ability to establish physical fitness guidelines.
This study concluded that some of the existing guidelines for diving fitness qualification were unrealistically high and offered a more appropriate threshold for fitness to dive. It also emphasized the importance of maintaining a training regimen to increase aerobic activity.
This study was completed in 2008.
Problematically, neither the typical physical fitness of divers nor the demands of typical diving activities are well documented. This has resulted in a pattern of standards for fitness of divers being promoted that may be unrealistic and are frequently ignored. A better appreciation of physical fitness norms and the demands of diving would facilitate efforts to develop rational guidelines and initiatives to evaluate and improve diver physical fitness.
In this study, the physical fitness-related standards across several institutional, national and extra-national scientific diving organizations were reviewed. It found that there is a lack of recurrent physical fitness evaluations and suggests the formalization of periodic physical fitness evaluations.
These studies also stressed the importance of increasing aerobic capacity through physical fitness training programs to help reduce risks that may be associated with low levels of fitness. It is crucial to remember that having a healthy fitness reserve can make a huge difference in how well in-water events are managed, as water can be an unexpectedly and unforgiving element.
Additional Reading and References
- Ma AC, Pollock NW. Physical fitness of scientific divers: standards and shortcomings. In: Pollock NW, Godfrey JM, eds. Diving for Science 2007. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 26th Symposium. Dauphin Isl, AL: AAUS, 2007: 33‐43.
- Pollock NW. Aerobic fitness and underwater diving. Diving Hyperb Med. 2007; 37(3): 118‐24.
- Pollock NW. Developing a training program for scientific diving environmental health and safety professionals. In: Brueggeman P, Pollock NW, eds. Diving for Science 2008. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 27th Symposium. Dauphin Isl, AL: AAUS, 2008: 121-7.
- Pollock NW, Natoli MJ. Aerobic fitness of certified divers volunteering for laboratory diving research studies. Undersea Hyperb Med. 2009; 36(4):303‐4.
- Bennett PB, Cronje FJ, Campbell E, (with Marroni A Pollock NW). Assessment of Diving Medical Fitness for Scuba Divers and Instructor. Best Publishing: Flagstaff, AZ, 2006 .