Scuba diving can burn a lot of calories. Find out how many by using our custom calculator below.
All you need to do is put in your weight and diving conditions and our calculator will do the rest.
Read on if you want to know more about burning calories while scuba diving.
Scuba Diving Burned Calories Calculator
Burning calories while scuba diving
Now that you saw how many calories you can burn even on easy dives, let’s check out a little more how many calories we burn while scuba diving and what influences this.
Does scuba diving burn calories?
On average, a scuba diver will burn between 300 to 600 calories per dive, depending on dive time, the weight of the diver, the difficulty of the dive, and environmental influences such as currents and water temperature.
Scuba diving does indeed burn a surprisingly high amount of calories, considering our goal underwater is to move as little as possible.
But why is this the case?
Scuba diving has a MET or Metabolic equivalent value of 7.0.
MET refers to the energy or caloric consumption (when breathing) of an individual in comparison to their so-called “basal metabolic rate“. This basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy that a person needs to keep the body functioning at rest.
Basically, scuba diving uses up to 7 times as many calories per time frame, as resting would.
Many sources, therefore, claim we burn between 400 to 700 calories per dive while jogging only burns about 400 to 500 calories per hour.
This number seems a little exaggerated, especially when doing shallow reef dives in warm water, and our calculator above is a little more on the conservative side.
How do scuba divers burn calories?
Scuba divers mainly burn calories in one of five ways:
- Fin kicking (more in stronger currents)
- Keeping warm during the dive
- Dehydration from dry air in tank
- Carrying scuba gear before/after dive
- Breathing at higher depths
Kicking our fins during a dive can burn a significant amount of calories, especially when swimming against currents.
Especially beginners tend to kick too much during their first dives and use up a lot of energy (and air from their tanks) in the process.
Using good fin-kicking techniques is a good way to optimize this.
Keeping warm during the dive
Keeping warm and preventing hypothermia is a major reason why scuba diving burns a lot of calories.
The thermal conductivity of water is 25 times higher than air, which means we lose body heat much faster than on land.
Since our body tries to keep a steady body temperature it has to use up a lot of energy to “fuel” it, thereby burning a lot of calories.
Of course, this means the warmer the water, the smaller the effect.
However, especially when diving in a drysuit, we are not exposed to such rapid heat loss and will burn less calories while diving.
Dehydration from dry air in the tank
The air in our scuba tanks is dried before compression to prevent fouling and corrosion on the inside.
Our body has to “wet” the air before it can enter our lungs, leading to increased dehydration during a dive.
This process burns many calories while scuba diving.
Carrying scuba gear
Let’s face it, while scuba diving underwater feels like being an astronaut floating weightlessly, the more difficult it is above water.
Carrying our tanks, and equipment and getting in and out of the water can be especially exhausting.
This adds further physical exertion to a dive.
Breathing at higher depths
Diving deeper leads to a higher ambient pressure of 1 bar per 10 meters.
When breathing in at 30 meters depth at 4 bars of pressure, our lungs have to work much harder to expand than at the surface at 1 bar.
Although this factor is usually relatively small, many know how difficult breathing can get when diving against an underwater current.
As such, even the simple act of breathing underwater (which you know is one of the most important rules of diving) burns a lot of calories.
How cool is that?
Scuba diving does indeed burn a lot of calories and if you go diving regularly, this can be a nice side benefit besides the fun you’ll have.
At the same time, it will not replace a fitness routine like swimming, jogging, or going to the gym. As always, combine different types of exercise to reach your fitness goals and mainly dive for the enjoyment of it!
Do you feel scuba diving burns a lot of calories? Let me know in the comments.
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