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April 2003 Vol. 18, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Slow Burn

from the April, 2003 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Travel on liveaboards like the Dancer and you'll be greeted with more food than you would ever serve yourself at home. If you eat the early Continental breakfast, then three full meals, enjoy the soups and desserts, have a couple of drinks before dinner and wine with it, and nibble on the onboard snacks like cookies between dives, you could easily partake in a 4,000, maybe even a 5,000-calorie day.

But ah, you say, look at all those calories you burn diving. If you're like most sport divers, you probably think you burn something like 600 to 900 a dive.

So why is it that many divers, after these trips, write to Undercurrent that they actually gained weight on the trip? Because burning that 600-900 calories on a dive is wishful thinking.

Dr. Jolie Bookspan, the author of Diving Physiology in Plain English told Undercurrent that a diver "burns the same number of calories diving as doing any other light exercise." And, she adds, "it's a myth that exposure to cold water burns more. This had been explored some years ago in a study where obese women pedaled stationary bicycles in very cold pools. Beside being unpopular, it didn't work."

Think about an easy dive on coral reef like a walk in the park. If you weigh 200 lbs., you'll be lucky to burn 200 calories an hour. Dive five times a day, eat up, and go home five pounds heavier.

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