Like millions of Americans do each year, my wife and I scheduled a trip to Mexico to take a much needed vacation. If you like me, vacation time is usually filled with everything but exercise and I had no intent of ruining this vacation with daily workouts and proper eating habits when I would rather be sitting on the beach drinking a Mojito.
There are, of course, an unlimited number of activities that one would find exciting in a place like the island of Cozumel, Mexico, but I was set on kicking back and relaxing until I ran across an interesting magazine that featured scuba diving at the very location we were planning to visit.
For years, I had been curious about scuba diving and together my wife and I decided to find a local dive center and look into getting our open-water certificates so that we could "try it" while on our coming vacation – exercise was not the intention really.
To my surprise, the requirements for passing our certificates were fairly easy but it did require decent swimming skills and a reasonable level of physical fitness. I also found that a large majority of divers are over the age of 35. Proving that being young is not a requirement.
For the most part, Scuba diving is a pretty easy activity to learn, but it is an intensive exercise and does require the knowledge and skills relating to the equipment and safety for the individual, that persons diving partner, and also for the environment in which you will be diving. Here, the certification requirement before most dive operations will take you out on a dive trip.
An interesting aspect of learning to dive was finding out just how much this activity feels like a real honest to goodness workout. We arrive in Cozumel and checked into our hotel and the dive operation center the same day to let them know we were there and ready to go diving as we had reserved five days of two-tank boat dives plus two night dives. We took the day to relax and acclimate to our surroundings and figure out which bartenders served the best drinks – (Did I mention that Mojitos are my favorite?) The Dive Master informed us that we needed to be at the dock ready with our gear by 7:45 am the next day- so we checked our equipment, weights, and wetsuits just to make sure we were prepared and arrived on-time that morning.
If you have never lugged around dive gear – you have a real treat in store. It's heavy, but it's your life-safety equipment, so you do not care how heavy it is, as long as it works as expected. Again, be prepared for a workout.
On the first day of diving, I made the mistake of thinking that it would be a walk in the park – sort of a lazy day – so I had a big breakfast, and an extra cup of coffee. But, to my dismay, I soon realized that my eating routine prior to each dive needed to be adjusted and the real trick was to eat fruits and drink water before the dive, and an adequate meal afterwards to replenish the energy lost during "the workout "He said. Because, it is a workout, even if you are having the time of your life – you are toning your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. You are stretching things you have not stretched in years – and you are carrying a heavy tank and weights around like a soldier going into battle.
After five days, and twelve separate dives, I was eating better nutritionally than before I arrived, and feeling like I could lift a truck on my back. I was amazed considering that my intention was to have a lazy vacation. The funny part was that I was more relaxed and in better shape when we left our vacation spot than when we had arrived.
That trip opened my eyes to many new an exciting aspects of vacationing and I learned that I can get the exercise I need by doing the things I love to do. I learned that scuba diving is one of the most fantastic activities I have ever pursued and will continue to live as long as I am mainly and mentally able.
The best part of the trip was realizing that I had found a way to exercise and still spend an intense amount of time under water seeing and experiencing life in a mesmerizing fashion. Until you are there and see for yourself, words can not express the beauty or the spender of the sea and all its inhabants.
So, next time you feel like you're getting bored with your workouts and you are thinking of giving up. Do not forget, exercise can be fun, exciting, exhilarating, and memorable.