By now we are all impatient for the weather to start warming and the local waters to reach comfortable diving temperatures. (Yes, I know some of you have already been hitting it in your drysuits, but for the rest, we’ll wait.) Since we cannot do anything about the weather, why not take these next weeks to do something prepare ourselves for the local diving season?
Of course, it is always a good idea to be checked out by your doctor prior to starting an exercise program, but it is also advised to be sure you are fit to dive as well (Remember the medical statement you signed before starting your dive class?)! So a visit with your doctor may be a good way to start off your diving season. If you’ve spent the winter hibernating, it would be best to start out with daily brisk walking. Walking is a good way to get your heart pumping, not to mention the good it does for your finning muscles! Start with a short walk around your neighborhood and gradually work up distance and speed. Once you’ve worked up to 40-60 minutes of walking, you can kick up the intensity of your work out by trying hilly routes. If you are walking on a paved walking track, or trail, walk sideways for a distance, then turn the other way and walk sideways again, this time leading with the other leg. This helps strengthen the muscles of your inner and outer thighs. Try walking backwards, to tone the hamstrings and glutes. This would be a good one to do with a buddy. Take turns, one of you walking forward, looking ahead for obstacles and traffic, while the other walks backward, and then switch. Again, it is important that you only attempt walking sideways or backwards if you have a smooth surface to walk on so you do not trip on a piece of displaced sidewalk. There is a wonderful paved track surrounding Lake Andrea by the Lakeview Rec Plex that is not only smooth and even, but treats you to a lovely view! At home, you can work those gams (those muscles in your lower leg.) while doing the dishes, talking on the phone, or anything you can do while standing. Just hang on to a counter or the back of a chair and lift up to your tip toes, then down. One way to take this exercise a bit further is to do it on stairs, with your heels hanging off the edge. When you get really strong, you may want to try raising yourself up on one foot at a time.
In addition to your heart and legs, it is a good idea to remember to strengthen your core muscles. These are the muscles that surround your midsection and help to keep your back healthy and maintain balance. Your core muscles come into play when you attempt to maintain a streamlined horizontal posture in the water. Crunches, which target the abdominals, are the mainstay of core fitness, but you may want to try an exercise that will help tone the other muscles that support your core. Give these a try: Start out on all fours, holding your back in a neutral curve. Slowly pull your stomach in towards your spine. Hold for a count of five. Relax without allowing your stomach to sag. Repeat this three times. Next, while still on all fours, straighten one leg, holding it straight out in line with your back for a count of five. Slowly bring the leg down, and then repeat with the other leg. Once you can perform this with ease, try lifting the leg and the opposite arm. For example, lift your right leg out behind you and your left arm in front of you. Build your strength by holding the pose for increasing counts and increasing reps.
By working these simple exercises into your daily routine, you will become stronger and increase your endurance. The added bonus for divers is that you will see a decrease in your air consumption, both as a result of better fitness and better streamlining underwater—and who doesn’t want to squeeze a few more minutes out of every dive?
In Other News………..
Now there’s no excuse to not own a dive computer!
Have you been thinking about getting a dive computer? Do you currently own a dive computer and want to upgrade? Is your dive computer a piece of junk? Well how about $200 towards a new computer? Here’s the deal. Trade in any computer, whether it works or not, and receive an instant $200 rebate on the purchase of a Cobra, Cobra2 or Vytec DS dive computer. (We will dispose of your old computer in an environmentally responsible way.) Don’t own a computer? No worries! You will also qualify for the $200 instant rebate on the purchase of your first computer by purchasing or completing Open Water or Specialty Scuba Certification by 7/31/08.
Keep an eye on the calendar for Manta Diver excursions this summer. Don’t miss out on the fun. Sign up for Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver or some other specialty. (Get $200 off a dive computer, see above.)
Don’t forget to check out the new AFX 8mm wetsuit from Aqualung, a great alternative to a drysuit. This may be the answer to those who would like to dive in cold water, but don’t like being cold. Come on in and check it out!
Join Team Manta on our next big adventure in Little Cayman, Jan. 10-17, 2009. We are staying at the Little Cayman Beach Resort for a week of valet diving on some of the most pristine reefs around. The price includes round trip air fare, airport transfers, double occupancy accommodations, all meals, and your choice of 3, 2, or no dives per day. This may be the last real bargain in dive travel, given the way gas prices are going. I’ve locked in a good price on this one!
$2627 3 divers per day*
$2470 2 dives per day*
$2195 non diver*
*3% Discount for cash or check payment.
$500 holds your place, final payment due October 1, 2008.
NEW! Manta Divers now sells swim goggles, so if you want to incorporate swimming into your fitness regimen, take a look at what we have to offer.