Travel Activities That Can Improve Your Health

Forbes February 17, 2024


Travel Activities That Can Improve Your Health

A scuba diver explores a colorful coral reef in the Indian Ocean

Wellness in travel is nothing new, but certain adventure activities—like scuba diving—are getting their turn in the spotlight. “Scuba divers benefit from a boost of vitamin D, become more conscious of their breath, enhance their fitness levels, improve their quality of sleep, and become connected with a like-minded community,” says Julie Andersen Global Senior Director of Brand for PADI Worldwide.

Andersen explains how diving in salt water can improve your health.

Giant stride entry into calm ocean.

Saltwater Rejuvenates You

Thanks to the high magnesium levels in saltwater, being in or near the ocean will help regulate your muscles and nerve functionality, moderate blood sugar levels and improve your sleep. Magnesium is a critical element in our bodies, and one many people are deficient in.

Surprised beautiful black woman
Saltwater Improves Your Skin

“Vitamin Sea is not just a cute ocean pun; it highlights how saltwater is an essential nutrient for our body’s biggest organ–our skin,” says Andersen. Saltwater is rich with minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium, which all help reduce inflammation, protect the skin, and heal any scrapes, cuts, or sores. Saltwater can also help enhance the flow of lymph, which can reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Saltwater Increases Your Consumption of Trace Minerals

Our bodies need trace minerals to function and develop optimally. “It just so happens that saltwater has many of the essential trace nutrients we need, including magnesium, manganese, cobalt, sodium, calcium, potassium, and boron,” says Andersen. These trace minerals are absorbed by your body through your skin - your largest organ - when you are in or near the ocean.

Woman scuba diver smiling underwater
Saltwater Improves Your Breathing

Swimming, diving, or even simply floating in saltwater can enhance your breathing abilities. In fact, it can also alleviate symptoms from hay fever, sinusitis and asthma too. This is because the saline in the ocean reduces inflammation and mimics your body’s own fluids.

Plus, sea air has high salt content, which means that as you breathe it in, it’s clearing your throat and respiratory system, allowing clearer breathing and better-quality sleep. Sea air is also known to keep you awake and energetic during the day because it is much cooler.

Underwater  Scuba diver explore and enjoy  Coral reef  Sea life
Saltwater Literally Grounds Us

Have you ever felt at peace with the world when you walk barefoot on the beach? There is a scientific reason for that known as grounding. “Positive electrons in the form of free radicals can build up in our bodies and direct contact with the sand and saltwater, which have negative charges, literally balances this out,” says Andersen. This is why you likely feel more energized and relaxed at the same time when on the beach–and why many of us feel naturally drawn to the sea.

Saltwater Boosts Our Immunity

Did you know that saltwater has been proven to help heal those with weakened immune systems, anemia, and high blood sugar levels? In fact, saltwater is now being used in medicine–specifically for its ability to help our immune system stay strong against viruses, bacteria and pathogens. In fact, saltwater from the ocean and our blood plasma are 98% identical.

Scuba divers couple  near beautiful coral reef surrounded with shoal of coral fish and three yellow butterfly fish
How diving can help your mental and physical health

It is no secret that physical activity is good for our health, but why is scuba diving specifically good for us? Andersen explains how good health and scuba diving are closely connected.

Scuba divers at the end of a dive
Get a Boost of Vitamin D

The correlation between vitamin D and our overall health has been known for years. A great way to get your daily boost of vitamin D is by being outside in the sunshine. A daily dive in the ocean (wearing reef-safe sunscreen) will ensure your body gets the right dose of this essential vitamin.

Active rest. Diving at the coral reefs
Be Conscious of Your Breath

“The golden rule in scuba diving is to never stop breathing,” says Andersen. So naturally, you are going to focus on your breath in ways that you may not do so while on land. Breathing mindfully will not only help you stay neutrally buoyant but equally calm your nervous system, boost your immune system and get rid of any negative emotions.


Enhance Your Fitness

Diving will give you a workout without you even realizing it. The physical movements you do while diving will feel relaxed but equally keep get your heart pumping, your muscles toned, and your endurance enhanced. Water is a great medium to exercise in, providing pressure from every angle without impact.

Shot of an unrecognizable doctor checking a patient's blood pressure in an office
Decrease Your Blood Pressure

While your heart rate will undoubtedly increase from excitement when you encounter a dolphin, shark, or manta ray underwater, the overall diving experience is a relaxing one. That means often stress and anxiety levels decrease, along with your heart rate and blood pressure being lowered.


Enjoy a Boost of Dopamine and Serotonin

Diving and being in the moment will give you happy hormones, known as dopamine and serotonin. “Exploring, being present, and seeing a whole new world beneath the surface is not only stimulating but directly aids in our body producing more of these happy hormones and will leave you feeling great for the rest of the day,” says Andersen.

Young African American woman sleeping in modern bedroom with eyes closed.
Improve Your Quality of Sleep

There is no better way to follow up a great day of diving than with an evening of relaxation. Many divers find it easier to sleep after a day of diving, especially as the hits of dopamine and serotonin wear off later in the day. Chances are you may even have more vivid dreams of the magical underwater world you just experienced firsthand.

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