Too old to dive? While I subscribe to the motto that we are all as old as we feel, one hotly debated topic in sporting circles is the subject of whether someone can be too old to dive. The Divers Alert Network defines an older diver as any person age 50 years or older. Now before all my adventure travelers and “older” diver readers click outta here, read on, as our guest author cites research on how old is too old and these scuba diving tips for over 50.
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Scuba Diving Tips and Research for over 50
For those who know me, you already know water and me — not so much. I grew up in land-locked Iowa, and while parents did sign me and my 2 siblings (3 were not born yet…) for swimming lessons, it was a short summer session. I was about 9 years old, and I barely passed. Therefore, fear of water is based on simply not being a good swimmer.
Even so, I once put my big girl panties on and attempted “snuba” diving while traveling to Xcaret in the Riviera Maya. For those who don’t know, it’s a form of scuba diving with a helmet and walking on the sea bottom. I absolutely panicked and hyperventilated, although my instructor did calm me down, allowing me to enjoy (however briefly) the amazing sea life. It’s one of those adventures that I won’t do again, but I’m glad I did it.
But hey, this is about Scuba Diving. So read on for our guest authors research and tips for scuba diving when over 50.
Who is Scuba Diving?
Meanwhile, there are literally millions of men, women, and children who enjoy scuba diving. including those who are over 50. Through the years, these older divers have come to form a larger portion of the diving community worldwide. There are two main reasons for this.
First, these are the divers that took up the sport of scuba diving when it first became popular around 30 to 40 years ago.
Second, today’s older generation is both more active and generally wealthier than the older generations in the past. Some are even taking up the pastime in their older years.
Therefore, when it comes to safe scuba diving today is the question of whether anyone can be too old to dive. So how old is too old for diving?
Too Old to Dive?
If an older person has been diving since he or she was young and wishes to continue, then it may be safer for these people to dive than it would for a young beginner, if for no other reason because they have lots of experience. They have come across many of challenges related to diving and learned how to deal with different scenarios. The only limitations such divers could have are either physical limitations or age-related issues. However, these situations can be evaluated by a medical professional.
Additionally, diving courses are designed that they cater to a wide variety of students. This is regardless of the gender, age or ability of those students.
Of course, with older divers, higher risks of lung and heart issues may need to be assessed before these divers can be enrolled in a diving course. It is best to ask those who are age 45 and older questions related to family history around factors like heart health, plus overall lifestyle habits.
Lung Capacity Not an Issue
Many of the reasons physicians used to disapprove diving at an advanced age have since been discredited. At one time, doctors thought that a person’s lungs declined in time, so older drivers would have a hard time dealing with the changes in pressure under water and find it difficult to breathe in compressed air.
In particular, they thought that the lungs of older people would retain unhealthy amounts of carbon dioxide. There were, however, numerous studies that showed the lungs of older people did not retain significantly higher amounts of gas than their younger counterparts.
Scuba Diving Tips for Older Divers
Many of the issues that older divers used to face can now be dealt with. Metabolism tends to slow down with age, and older divers are more susceptible to hypothermia. However, this can be solved by wearing thicker or heated suits to protect them against exposure. Prescription masks and contact lenses can also solve the problem of poor vision.
Because of these advances, diving is a completely viable form of physical activity for baby boomers and seniors, especially as part of a vacation experience.
Are you an older scuba diver? When did you first start diving? Share with us your experiences in the comments below.