5 Tips on Healthy Living for Divers
In general, athletes respect their bodies and take good care of themselves: They eat right, get a good amount of sleep and get plenty of exercise. Divers are no exception.
But unlike so many sports that utterly rely on the proper consumption of food to ensure a strong performance, diving does not necessarily require its athletes to be as disciplined. Nevertheless, divers still must eat right, get a good amount of sleep, get sufficient exercise and protect themselves against harmful elements in order to ensure a successful diving career.
Here are five tips for how a diver can live a healthier life.
1. Proper Nutrition
Just about every athlete acknowledges that proper nutrition is vital to an athletic career. But knowing what to eat and actually eating a balanced diet are two separate things.
Taking a multiple vitamin is a great way to ensure you are getting the proper nutrients that may otherwise be missing from your diet.
A balanced diet differs depending on the amount of exertion you have in your daily life. For an athlete whose sport is moderately fatiguing (diver), it is recommended that 40 percent of your calories come from carbohydrates, 30 percent from fat and 30 percent from protein.
Carbohydrates should make up most of your diet as it supplies energy and fuel for your muscles. But not all carbs are the same. Try to stay with whole grains such as whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, potatoes and beans.
Meat is a great source of protein, which builds and repairs muscles. It is best to eat fish, chicken, and lean red meats to get your daily requirement. But even a vegetarian can get a good amount of protein in their diet through nuts, eggs, leafy green veggies and dairy products.
The body needs a sufficient amount of fat to run properly. Stay away from saturated fats (the kind in potato chips and milk chocolate) and focus on the unsaturated fats that are found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, lean meats and eggs.
Divers should also eat a significant amount of fruits and veggies to fuel the body and provide it with the nutrients it needs to combat injuries and prepare for daily diving workouts.
Always seek the counsel of your physician who knows the exact foods and portions you should eat.
The brain sends signals to your body alerting thirst only after an extended period of dehydration. So if you feel like you need a long swig of water, it's probably too late. That's why it is important to drink fluids as a matter of routine throughout the day, before you feel thirsty.
It is important for all athletes to drink enough water. Dehydration causes not only muscle weakness, but also contributes to mental weakness.
When you sweat you lose not only water, but also important minerals in your body. Replenishing those essentials is important for overall health. While divers might not sweat a lot, they do exert enough to make hydration a priority.
Most people need at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night, but athletes need even more if they want to feel and perform their best. Sleep is when your body repairs itself. Without it, you are more prone to injuries, fatigue, and those subtle slip-ups that can make or break a diving routine.
Take every opportunity to raise your heart rate by running, jumping rope, or jumping on the trampoline. Your heart is a muscle and, just as every other muscle in your body, it needs exercise to get stronger.
Cardiovascular activities improve a diver's strength, energy and timing. The fitter you are the better diver you will become.
5. Protection Against the Elements
Although it is impossible to protect yourself from all environmental hazards, there is one that divers absolutely can and must protect themselves against: The sun.
Glenn McCormick, an acclaimed Olympic diving coach and judge, died in 1995 from brain cancer. The cancer was believed to be the result of an earlier treated skin cancer that metastasized to the brain.
Although he was frequently seen walking the pools with a large covered hat and sunscreen on his face, years of sun exposure finally caught up to him. An active man, and a well respected member of the diving community, this loss came as a stunning reality of the harmful effects of sun exposure.
Although it is true that the sun provides vitamin D and gives some people that beautiful tan, it can also cause scarring burns and skin cancer.
Protect yourself by wearing a level 15 or higher sunscreen anytime you are out in the sun. Your skin is the largest organ of your body — it is important to protect it.
Leading a healthy life does not require following strict guidelines. It really is a matter of balancing your life with activity, recovery, and nutritious foods that properly fuel your body. If you work at eating right, getting enough sleep, and protecting yourself from the harmful rays of the sun, you will enjoy the benefits for years to come.