One of the best parts of choosing a cruise to the Caribbean, Hawaii or any other dreamy beach destination is the chance to be in and around the water. Depending on your cruise’s itinerary, you can swim with dolphins and turtles or explore the scenery from a kayak or catamaran.
Other options include deep-sea fishing, lounging on the beach or taking a peek under the sea through a snorkeling mask.
From Key West and The Bahamas to Maui, snorkeling is a popular water sport because it doesn’t require much equipment and it is easy to learn. You may be surprised to find out that there are also many benefits to snorkeling. Gliding through the water has a positive effect on both your physical and mental health.
1. Burns Calories
Snorkeling is a refreshing way to burn calories without working up a sweat. You can burn between 250 and 300 calories per hour as you explore the sights and life teeming beneath the water’s surface.
2. Boosts Your Cardiovascular System
Snorkeling is a heart-healthy way to spend a morning or afternoon. You may not notice it since you’re distracted by underwater sights, but it increases your heart rate, lowers your blood pressure and strengthens your heart.
This leads to better cardiovascular health, which reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, including high cholesterol, heart failure and coronary heart disease. So, for your shore excursion on a cruise to Cozumel, you can snorkel your way to a healthier you.
3. Decreases Stress and Anxiety
Snorkeling takes you to another world where your stress seems to melt away as you glide through the water. The gentle movements and natural scenery can help you feel calmer and more connected with nature.
You may also find that breathing through the snorkel mimics breathing techniques used in meditation. This makes snorkeling effective for reducing the effects of stress and anxiety.
4. Improves Breathing Ability
Breathing through a snorkel requires more effort than breathing through your nose, so you’re forced to regulate your breath as you swim. This process helps you control your breathing, so you take slower and more even breaths.
It also acts as a breathing exercise that increases your maximal oxygen uptake, an indication of your aerobic fitness. In general, people with high maximal oxygen uptake have better cardiovascular health than those with lower numbers.
5. Increases Joint Mobility
Water sports, like snorkeling, are low impact activities that don’t stress your joints. This makes it a good choice for people with joint pain and stiffness who cannot handle other activities like walking long distances.
While you’re in the water, you can move your ankles, knees and shoulders through their full range of motion to increase joint mobility and flexibility. Your limbs may feel looser, and you may notice less pain when you get out of the water.
6. Increases Lung Capacity
Although you can breathe any time the snorkel is above the water, there are times when you have to hold your breath. For example, if you want to take a closer look at the reef, you may completely submerge your head (including the snorkel).
Holding your breath increases your lung capacity, which helps your body take in more oxygen and makes your lungs work more efficiently.
7. Tones Muscle
Water supports your joints, but it also provides resistance that helps tone your muscles. Snorkeling is a full-body workout that engages your arms, legs and core to propel your body through the water even if you wear fins.
Your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, hip flexors and shoulders benefit most from this gentle workout. Don’t be surprised if you feel a little sore after your first time snorkeling.
8. Easy on Your Body
Snorkeling is a gentle activity that people of all ages and fitness levels can enjoy. You can seamlessly move with the water and connect with the tides. There are no hard landings that put stress on your joints.
You don’t have to carry heavy pieces of equipment. Nor do you have to take special classes to participate. As long as you show up and follow instructions, you’re in for some fun.
9. Increases Confidence
If you avoid water activities because you feel more comfortable with your head above the water, snorkeling is great for helping you ease out of this.
Snorkeling allows you the option of using a floatation device, which is great to use when you want to just hover over the reefs. After going out to the reefs a few more times, you may find yourself feeling more confident about trying other water activities.
10. Improves Mood
Like other types of exercise, snorkeling helps your body release endorphins. These feel-good hormones elevate your mood and give you a general sense of calm.
If you’re snorkeling for the first time, you may also get a boost of confidence from learning a new skill. You’ll come back from your excursion ready for even more fun and may try something else new, like singing karaoke or dancing.
As you plan your shore excursions for your upcoming cruise, consider a snorkeling adventure and experience its benefits for yourself. Pair it with other water activities like a catamaran sail or dolphin swim, or choose a snorkeling-only adventure at a private island. You’ll have plenty of fun and boost your health at the same time.