While going on vacation is a great opportunity to relax, that doesn’t mean that you need to take time off of working out and caring for yourself. If the thought of hitting the gym before you hit the beach doesn’t appeal to you, then it’s time to consider how you can get a great workout while spending time outside in the water and in the sun. Many people who are looking for a way to exercise while at the beach wonder “is snorkeling good exercise?”
While snorkeling doesn’t seem nearly as high-impact as running on the beach or surfing, that doesn’t mean that you need to count out this activity when you are looking to raise your heart rate and burn a few calories. In fact, with just a few pieces of very inexpensive equipment, you can get out into the water and start reaping incredible health benefits by snorkeling. I was amazed at how good for you this activity actually is and all of the ways that it can help to improve your health.
Is Snorkeling Good Exercise?
Before looking at all of the health benefits of snorkeling, it’s a good idea to understand what goes on in your body when you are snorkeling. While many people see this activity as merely floating gently through the water, you are actually working all of your muscle groups. In addition, you will experience benefits such as improved breathing, mobility, and better cardiovascular health, making snorkeling an activity that you will want to participate in the next time you head to the beach for a vacation.
You’ll Improve Your Breathing
When you snorkel, you actually increase your own maximal oxygen uptake. This is considered a very good indicator of your overall aerobic fitness. Because you are breathing through a tube instead of normally, you have to work a lot harder to be able to breathe in and force air back out of your mouth.
While this may not seem like hard work, the resistance of breathing through a tube can improve training results. You actually end up emptying your lungs completely so that you are able to take in more oxygen. In time, you will become more efficient at breathing and better able to control your breath.
Your Muscles Will be Stronger
When you snorkel, you actually use muscles in your back, core, arms, and legs to propel yourself through the water. This is a great full-body workout and one that can greatly improve the strength of your muscles when you enjoy it on a regular basis. To really make sure that you are working as hard as possible when you are snorkeling, skip the fins, as this will make you work hard and burn more calories.
By snorkeling in colder water, you will actually burn even more calories. Kicking down into the water so that you can investigate something closer will push your muscles, as you have to work against the natural buoyancy of your body. Finally, if the water isn’t completely calm, you will have even more resistance to work against while snorkeling.
Your Heart Will Be Healthier
Any physical activity that both increases your heart rate and will strengthen the muscle of your heart is good for you. When you snorkel, you are able to do both of these things at once. Everyone knows that having a healthy heart is key to living a long and healthy life, and snorkeling is a fun activity to improve your cardiovascular health.
Better heart health has been tied to a decrease in heart failure, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even coronary heart disease. Improving your heart’s health is a great reason to grab your gear and hop in the water.
Your Joints Will Move Better
Swimming has long been known as a great activity for anyone who wants to improve the health and mobility of their joints. When you exercise in the water, you won’t be putting as much force and impact on your joints as you do when you run or walk. Any pain or stiffness that you feel in your joints will soon disappear when you are in the water.
Because your body is supported by water while you are snorkeling, you don’t need to worry about painful pressure on your joints. This activity is a great one for anyone who is just starting getting into shape or who is trying to improve their mobility due to an accident, injury, or a sedentary lifestyle.
Burn Calories to Lose Weight
One problem that many people have when they are working out with the sole purpose of burning calories so that they can lose weight is that they are bored during their workout. The great thing about snorkeling is not only that you’ll always have something interesting to see and look at while in the water, but that each time, snorkeling will be a little different. This means that you can burn calories without getting bored.
Because you can actually burn around 300 calories each time that you are snorkeling, it’s easy to see how quickly you can start to trim up. By combining this calorie burn with the full-body workout that you will enjoy, it’s a wonder that more people don’t respect snorkeling as the great workout that it is.
If you are ready to exercise while on the beach, but sunrise yoga or hitting the treadmill isn’t your thing, then it’s time to consider snorkeling. You’ll get to explore incredible areas of the water while taking care of your body at the same time. With all of the health benefits that you’ll enjoy, you’re likely to want to snorkel every single day while you are at the beach, and that’s okay.
Make sure that you have the right gear for snorkeling and that you warm up before getting in the water. This will ensure that your muscles and joints are limber and ready to move, and it will prevent you from being uncomfortable or not getting all of the benefits of this experience.
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Megan and the rest of the editorial team here.