Scuba diving is the hot new sport for plus-60 adults. Between 2005 and 2010, the number of certified scuba divers over the age of 60 increased 47% worldwide, according to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). In comparison, certified divers 50-59 increased 14%. For mature adults, the sport’s appeal lies in its unique combination of exotic adventure and low-impact exercise.
Scuba gear and oxygen tanks may be heavy and bulky on land; but once you get into the water, weight slips away and movement becomes smooth, free, and easy. And that delicious feeling of weightlessness applies not just to your gear, but to your body. People who suffer from back pain or arthritic twinges are flocking to the sport, finding in scuba diving an enjoyable physical activity that doesn’t take a toll on the body.
While buying your own gear can add up, rental equipment is available at reasonable rates at ocean and Great Lakes resorts where diving is popular. You can even try the sport without certification. Certification is not required for shallow dives above 60 feet where coral formations and colorful tropical fish abound. Most resort areas offer beginner dives.
If you try it and like it, scuba certification classes, which entail classroom instruction and in-pool classes, range from $100 to $350 and classroom work can be taken online. Visit PADI.com or NAUI.org for more information. Classes and gear are also available at dive shops in Elyria and New London. If you live in or near Oberlin, including Kendal at Oberlin residents and members of Kendal at Home, Oberlin College hosts a Scuba Club that offers dive classes.
Photo Credit: Diego Molla