The Caribbean Sea and its more than 7,000 islands bespeak the adventurous history of many peoples such as the Americans, Dutch, French, Spanish, English, Mexicans, and Portuguese. Native cultures of the Maya, Arawak and Carib indians still weave through the islands with influences from Africa. It is bordered by the continents of North, Central and South America along with their respective coastal countries like Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica and Suriname, to name a few. The Caribbean is also the birthplace of more than a dozen independent island countries with names that conjur images of paradise like Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Barbados, Antiqua, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The vast and picturesque beauty of the Caribbean may be found in the sea spray of jagged shores, on palm-lined white sand beaches or along the reefs and walls below the crystal turquoise waters. It beacons visitors from around the world with unlimited varieties of vacation resorts and cruises, culture, cuisine and recreational activities. Adding to it’s allure are legends of pirates, mermaids and treasure. SCUBA divers, sailors, and water sports enthusiasts flock to the Caribbean year-round seeking it’s warm sunshine, water temperatures, easy-to-dive conditions and diverse sea life. The Caribbean is an ideal destination for learning to dive, new divers, and divers planning to advance their training. The Caribbean is warm most of the year and the profound underwater visibility adds comfort to the learning curve. Dive centers and clubs can find many group travel accommodations at comfortable and affordable all-inclusive dive resorts. Divers will discover both shore and boat diving in most locations. A few regions have drift diving and some dive facilities focus on deep and technical training. Non-penetration wreck diving and night diving are plentiful for recreational divers. Diving conditions are mostly weather dependent with some locations presenting changing currents.
A foundational level of overall fitness is a good beginning for diving in the Caribbean. The TIDES workout and fitness concepts help divers prepare for varied but mostly moderate diving. The exercises focus on both the large and assisting muscles of the chest, back and legs, training abdominals, biceps and triceps concurently. Specific shoulder exercises are provided to create strength throughtout range of motion. Variations in repetitions, sets and reps along with aerobic exercise, add an endurance component to the strength training which helps divers improve efficiency in the water and establish fitness reserves for unexpected diving events.
FitDiver® Magazine recently dedicated an entire issue to fitness for diving in the Caribbean. One of the most popular exercises featured is Around the Worlds. Subscribers receive four fitness for diving workouts each year. joomag.com/en/newsstand/fitdiver-magazine-octobe.../0120853001409840819
When performing Around the Worlds it is important for divers to maintain the best possible alignment of the body in every direction. This is a challenging but fun exercise that trains the shoulders in wide ranges of motion while working against gravity. Once aligned on the stomach or back on the bench or floor, squeeze the buttocks and contract the abdominal muscles to protect the low back. Keep the head in line with the spine. Slightly lift the chest and head for freedom of movement. Bend the knees and cross the feet for added stability. Begin with arms alongside the body. Although divers may not be able to see the arms, use the mind muscle connection to concentrate on controlled bilateral movement. Raise the arms to the side through the 90 degree angle allowing the shoulder joint to naturally rotate until the arms are parallel beyond the top of the head. Remember to breath in through the nose and out through the mouth throughout the duration of each repetition and the entire exercise set. Reverse the movement of the arms returning them alongside the body and repeat. Divers new to this exercise may perform it without added weight. If the shoulder joint is not flexible enough to move through the entire range of motion give it ample time to adapt. Do not force the exercise but be consistent and improvement will occur in both strength and flexibility. This exercise also engages muscles of the chest, back and arms.
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