Long Island, New York Scuba Diving

Our Long Island Scuba diving adventures and events

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A short exercise for a longer dive (breathing better or better breathing)

A short exercise for a longer dive (breathing better or better breathing)
I don’t think I have talked about this much but there are several techniques that will help you to enjoy your dive by staying relaxed and breathing less air. Remember that diving is not a race. Your only goal is to enjoy yourself and get the most out of that tank on your back. First, remember to give yourself an appropriate amount of time to get ready for the dive without rushing or getting anxious. Getting your heart rate racing here is going to waste a lot of gas in the first few minutes of your dive. If that does happen the next step will remedy the problem and make you relax your breathing.
As soon as you drop down in the water and have kicked to a spot free of other divers that might interfere with you, drop to the bottom. Dump all your air and just lay your chest on the bottom. Relax your entire body and shut your eyes. Listen to the bubbles and relax. Feel the water and relax. In one minute you will be a very relaxed groovy diver. If you are on a boat dive you can do this on the wreck, sand or as you hang on the line. Once you are relaxed you will not over-breath and your tank of air will last a very long time. I make every new diver do this exercise when they dive with me. That way I get a nice long dive and they learn how to breathe. I have had some very new divers in the water for 45 minutes or so and be within a few 100psi of my tank.
The next method is to be used on a long underwater swim or a swim against current. The scenario is this. Let’s say you have finished half of your dive, the current has changed and there is boat traffic that is preventing you from surfacing. You want to get back to the beach but you are concerned about air. The question is “How do you do all that work on the remaining air”? Maybe you can, maybe you can’t. As a certified diver you will have to decide what the best course for you is. If you are diving near boats you should at least have a 5’ long safety sausage in case you have to come up. Still there is a way to conserve your air on a long swim like this. You need to roll your arms in a very relaxed position under your body so it takes no energy to hold them up. I then try to think of going completely dead from the waste up. I try to keep my upper body from using any energy whatsoever so I can supply my legs which will be doing all the work. Your legs should be kicking as efficiently as possible and you need to keep a steady pace. You will be surprised at how fast you can swim if you streamline yourself and keep a steady pace. And if you conserve upper body energy and effort your breathing can stay relatively normal. Stopping and starting will waste valuable time and energy. There is a certain amount of time that you will be able to sustain this before your body starts demanding more oxygen and your breathing will increase so it’s best to try it for yourself and learn what your body will do.
Any diver can do these simple exercises and you will immediately see your dives lasting 10 minutes longer than they ever have. With some practice you can start adding to that.


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