Scuba diving, which actually stands for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, is all about below-the-surface activity. You must breathe through a compressed air pump to receive oxygen (hence the phrase's meaning). The first successful commercial dive has been credited to Jacques-Yves Cousteau, a French naval officer and explorer who studied the sea and all forms of aquatic life, in the 1940s.
Diving recreationally is one of the best workouts you can do to whip yourself into shape. Not only does it torch calories (a 145-pound woman will burn about 230 calories every 30 minutes), it also tightens and tones muscles (you'll use your legs, arms, abs, back and glutes to dive, swim and float through the water). What's more, because you'll have to focus on your breathing to avoid developing decompression sickness, nitrogen narcosis and oxygen toxicity, it's also a good way to strengthen your cardiovascular system.
For all of the health benefits you get from scuba diving, there are some other considerations, specifically cost. Diving isn't cheap -- you'll need a lot of equipment and training to do it safely. But it's a great investment that will improve your fitness and give you a new, wondrous way to work out.
Before you dive, you should take basic scuba-diving training, including the Submersible Certification Card. PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, is the biggest and most-recognized dive certification agency in the world.
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