We receive frequent enquiries from people asking us what age is too old to dive? This month we ask our doctors about any age limitations and the considerations which the older diver will need to take into account.
Firstly let us be clear that fitness to dive is not purely age dependent as you may find a 60 year old is still running marathons whilst a 20 year old sofa dweller is unable to manage a quick jog to the local shops. However the body does decline with age and each decline has its own concerns when diving.
A slow in metabolism means that the senior diver is more prone to feel the cold and therefore the exposure suits required by a younger diver may be insufficient to keep you comfortable on a dive.
The onset of osteoarthritis or general degeneration of the bones and joints can cause problems with the weight bearing parts of the skeletal structure; most notably the back and knees. When diving the extra weight required and the possibility of standing on bouncy dive decks in full dive kit can cause excess strain. This does not preclude diving but will require additional care and possibly kitting up in water to avoid these scenarios.
Cardio vascular fitness is something the aged diver needs to be cautious of, high blood pressure and heart problems may exclude the possibility of diving as complications with these whilst underwater may have more serious consequences than on the surface. Inability to walk a mile in less than 15 minutes would indicate that a full medical should be taken prior to commencing any diving activity.
A healthy lifestyle with lots of exercise, no history of smoking and a healthy diet should result in you being able to enjoy the wonders of the sea with no issues. A simple check up from our medical diving experts could mean that you are strapping on a tank, donning a mask and slipping on fins before you can say “over the hill”.
Dr. Adel Taher & Dr. Ahmed Sakr: your diving docs
If you have any medical queries please let us know at email@example.com. The most interesting one will be discussed in our next issue.
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