Fitness Confidentiality for Divers

ConfidentialIt is always a pleasure to present at dive shows and dive centers. I usually open my presentations with an invitation to divers to ask questions. This helps me get to know individual divers and provide meaningful information. To get the conversation started I often remind divers that we are all in this together. Diving is one of my personal motivations for maintaining and improving health and fitness.

Although we are all in this together, this doesn’t mean that divers want everybody to know every detail of their personal health. Beyond their personal physician who can divers trust with questions about health and physical fitness for diving?

I receive calls and emails from divers around the world asking fitness, nutrition and related health questions. My policy of confidentiality allows divers to gain trusted information on many topics. I offer advice within my scope of professional expertise for all ages relating to more than 30 medical conditions including fitness therapy, nutrition, sports performance, general fitness and fitness for diving, surfing, paddling and golf. My one-on-one training portfolio includes over 50,000 hours of private and small group training.

Confidential consultations are fee-based in 30, 60 and 90-minute increments. Complete fitness and nutrition programs include health and fitness assessments, nutrition recommendations and individualized workouts with exercise illustrations for independent programming. Private personal training sessions range from 30 minutes to 75 minutes. Divers may contact me directly by telephone at (760) 271-6069 or by email at

In confidence,
Gretchen M. Ashton, CFT, SFT, SFN, NBFE

Aerobic Exercise Improves Mental Performance for Divers

Aerobic Exercise Improves Mental Performance for DiversThe “runner’s high,” a “feel better” sensation often experienced by long-distance runners, is generally attributed to high levels of endorphins in the the brain. Researchers have known for some time that exercise increases endorphin production. In addition to improving the efficiency of the heart, lungs and vascular system, aerobic training can actually produce an anti-depressant type of effect including improvements in emotional and intellectual health.

Aerobic exercise improves mood stability often allowing those under a doctor’s care to reduce anti-depressant and anxiety medications. Improvements in self-esteem, increased confidence, and a more positive outlook for the future are also benefits of the effects of physical activity on brain chemistry.

Studies indicate that aerobic exercise improves mental acuity resulting in better concentration, enhanced ability to direct thoughts, and improved memory, all important mental performance activities for divers. Further neurophysicological advantages include a reduction in the symptoms of diseases such as Parkinson’s, improved sleep patterns, and diminishing the craving responses during smoking cessation.

Cardiorespiratory fitness is essential for scuba diving. Incorporating aerobic exercise in the diver’s daily routine is definitely not a “no-brainer” but it isn’t difficult to achieve. The results of the above-mentioned studies were accomplished in only five weeks with 30 to 60 minutes of exercise three times a week.

Examples of aerobic exercise are walking, jogging, running, swimming, rowing, cycling, jumping rope, aerobics classes, and dancing. Fitness centers and home gyms provide equipment such as treadmills, stairclimbers, ellipiticals and exercise bikes. Aerobic exercise may also be performed outdoors almost anywhere and can be a family activity, social time for moms while children are at school, or tranquil time alone.

Scuba Fitness: Labor Day is a great time for a lagoon outdoor workout

Scuba Fitness

Exercise is NOT recommended 24 hours before or after scuba diving making it challenging for divers to both dive and exercise during traditional two-day weekends. The three-day Labor Day weekend  however affords divers an opportunity to dive several times and still enjoy a scuba fitness workout. Long weekends also provide opportunities for extended exercise sessions, family fitness and fitness as part of outdoor recreation.

While scuba diving itself is not a workout, activities on or near the water that may be interesting to divers include stand-up paddle boardingsurfingkayakingcyclingbeach walking and hiking.

Many of our local lagoons are undiscovered playgrounds for the entire family. The Aqua Hedionda Lagoon in the City of Carlsbad, the location of the North Coast YMCA Aquatic Park, even allows swimming and boating. All vessels require day or annual use permits, so plan in advance. The Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation is hosting its 7th Annual Lagoon Clean Up in October.  The clean up offers participants a two-hour kayak tour of the area.  Buena Vista Lagoon is a favorite of fisherman.  All the lagoons offer amazing opportunities for bird watchers and naturalists.

Once of the best forms of outdoor exercise for scuba divers is walking on the beach. South Carlsbad State Beach offers a 3.9 mile stretch of beach with moderate terrain for most ages and abilities.  Depending on the diver’s fitness level, the sand and surf, set a pace of between 12 and 20-minutes per mile. Check the tides before heading out.  Low tides for Labor Day are extremely low in the early morning and evening.  Early-to-mid morning and mid-to-late afternoon appear to be the best times for walking this weekend.

Remember to use sun protection, wear comfortable clothes and athletic shoes, and bring a small snack and water.  Enjoy the long weekend.