Scuba diving

How Many Calories Do You Burn Scuba Diving?

Scientific research has shown that scuba diving is a low impact exercise activity that not only keeps you fit and healthy but also helps you lose weight! Diving is energy consuming – especially when the body is subject to significantly lower temperatures than normal – using more calories as needs are increased.
How many calories do you burn scuba diving? Find out here…

Facts and Figures

As a rough guide scuba diving can use from 400 to 700 calories each hour. The actual number of calories burned can change due to different conditions – such as water temperature, currents, and the amount of exercise carried out during the dive.

When measured in metabolic equivalents – METS – where one MET is defined as 1 Kcal/kg/hour, scuba diving has an average level of 7 METS with moderate scuba diving reaching 11.8 METS. And fast diving 15.8 METS.


Scuba diving provides a full body workout toning muscles and combining cardio and strength training. Diving through the water with increased energy demand and additional movement needed to overcome water resistance means a higher calorific burn. Deviations may occur due to:

  • When a diver is new – burning more calories as initially struggling against the water rather than gliding through
  • Speed of movement – the faster you go the more calories are expended
  • The weight and drag of the wetsuit – breathing above normal to counterbalance burning more calories overall
  • Constant manoeuvring through the water – needing motion from your entire body
  • Water temperature – three dives a day in the tropics can burn up to 900 extra calories

More Calorie Burning Factors

Your weight, gender, physical makeup, and your age all play a part in determining the number of calories you burn during a scuba dive. Men generally tend to burn more calories than women due to their higher muscle mass. And younger people burn more than older people as their metabolic rate is higher.

Human heat production is a science. Thermogenesis is the creation of warmth within the body. And uses up more energy than any other bodily process. Maintaining this body temperature is a function of your metabolism. And a part of your Basal Metabolic Rate. Climate and body temperature are key factors in BMR as it takes a lot of energy to keep the body at the correct temperature.

This relates to 15 minutes spent in cold water being the metabolic equivalent of an hour of exercise. Hormones released to boost body temperature also create brown fat cells – thought to be good for weight loss. Heat is lost 25 times faster in water and still occurs even when dive suits are worn. As a result of thermogenesis, you’ll need to have a supply of snacks to eat between dives as it also makes you hungry.

The weight of your dive equipment will also play a part in your calorie burn. How much does scuba gear weigh? A standard aluminium 80 tank weighs around 14.5 kg. A 7mm wetsuit 3.62kg. And you can calculate approximately another 7kg for mask, fins, and regulators. Then there are your weights to consider! All of this will affect how many calories you’ll be burning up as you dive.

In Conclusion

There are a number of calorie-tracking tools available. But these can be misleading as they rarely factor in water temperature. PADI have numbers that you can relate to – estimating that an average shore dive in temperate waters can burn as many as 600 calories per hour.

Get Certified

Scuba diving certification in Playa del Carmen with Koox is easily obtained. You’ll learn all of the skills needed through a range of training programmes and dive courses designed to guide you during the whole time. Course materials and manuals are also included – you’ll be able to study the theory alongside your practice sessions. And you’ll soon be burning off all those calories!

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