Diving for the first time can be exciting, but it can also be a little frightening. There’s nothing wrong with being anxious about your first dive. We are taught throughout our entire lives not to go too deeply below the water’s surface, and with good reason; our bodies are simply not equipped to handle the conditions of a dive without equipment.
We need oxygen, proper fins to paddle and tread water, and a host of other adaptations that we don’t have as a land dwelling species. Thankfully, the miracle of technology has enabled humans to explore the depths of the seas and oceans of the world. That doesn’t mean that we’ve lost the instinct to avoid deep waters, of course.
Anxiety, however, is something that can be overcome with experience. With a few easy tips and the proper instruction, you will find that diving can become like second nature quite easily. While humans aren’t meant to dive too deeply, we do have the proper instincts to swim, which is important. As a first time diver, you will have already guessed that your swimming ability is going to be vital for the experience, but so will knowledge of proper equipment usage and maintenance, diving conditioning, and experience levels.
Fitness and Diving
Diving is relaxing, but it’s not without its stresses as well. Swimming itself is a form of exercise, and our bodies are meant primarily to move on land. The most common cause of death among divers over the age of 40 is actually a heart attack, or other events related to cardiovascular disease. Be sure to get checked by a physician before you engage in any diving activity, preferably one that is experienced in knowing what to look for in potential divers.
Physical limits are important to understand with any sport or physical activity, but especially with diving. Your early instructional period will help you to become aware with what your limits are. How deeply you can go before becoming fatigued, and how long you can swim for are all important parts of defining a successful diving experience. Swimming with a partner is always smart, but in this area, it is particularly useful because your partner can spot when you begin to become fatigued, and vice versa.
As mentioned, anxiety can be an issue, but with proper training you will begin to form the mental cues of what to do and how to react in various situations. It helps to have properly fitted and maintained equipment so that you can be as comfortable as possible throughout your dive. Go through a checklist whenever you are packing your equipment for a dive, and become familiar with every single piece of equipment you have or need. Never go without any piece, regardless of how inconsequential it may seem. It could save your life.
Remember to always dive according to your experience level as well. There are regions in Costa Rica that are commended for novices, and then there are areas which are recommended for experts. If you don’t feel prepared for expert diving, don’t push yourself; you could be taking an unnecessary risk. Don’t rush your diving experience. The waters will still be there when you are truly ready to explore them.