Welsh dive centre is the first in UK to start a fitness programme tailored for divers

Being unfit as a diver can increase the risk of injuring your heart, lungs, or getting decompression sickness

A person scuba diving across seagrass
It is important when diving at depth to have good fitness and understanding of safe diving procedures .Credit Tianna Williams

A South Wales-based scuba diving centre is believed to be the first in the UK to start a bespoke fitness programme to help reduce the risk of injury when diving.

Welsh Diving owner Martin Donovan is setting up the programme for recreational and professional divers. 

He said, “People forget it is an extreme sport.

“If you are unfit diving, you are putting yourself at risk; you could injure your heart, lungs, or increase the risk of getting decompression sickness,” Donovan said. 

Although a fairly safe sport, in 2021 there were 235 diving incidents, and 18 people died scuba diving in the UK, according to the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) annual diving incident report.

The risk of an injury like decompression sickness can increase if you are physically unfit. 

BSAC and the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) recommend that any diver experiencing breathing difficulties underwater should end the dive, ascend safely, and be given oxygen. 

You wouldn’t enter the London marathon without training for it first”

The Welsh Diving website recommends that scuba divers ideally need to be free from disease, medical conditions, and injury, in accordance with the PADI guidelines.

Donovan said: “It is a Health and Safety Executive requirement for dive professionals to have, and pass, a medical examination.”

He said that people enjoy the weightless feeling of diving, but some don’t recognise the importance of keeping physically fit. 

The owner said: “They think training for diving is easier than it is, so they don’t bother.

“But you wouldn’t enter the London marathon without training for it first,” he said. 

The programme focuses on circuit and strength training to improve cardiovascular health and build muscle, alongside nutrition classes, to maintain a healthy lifestyle in and out of the water.

PADI’s Top Fitness Tips for Diving Safety

  1. Being active daily
  2. Consider low impact sports options
  3. Focus on the muscles you use for diving 
  4. Stretch
  5. Eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated