Athletes who want to learn to hold their breath underwater for more than a few tens of seconds should train frequently. How to safely perform this type of exercise?
What factors affect the minimization of oxygen consumption underwater?
When deciding to dive without oxygen support in addition to proper preparation, regular training and use of possible safety devices, one should remember about several external factors that affect the quality of diving and the possibility of holding one’s breath.
These include the depth underwater and thus the pressure experienced at depth, the water temperature and the level of contamination of the body of water. Before freediving itself, it is also a good idea to take care of the quantity and quality of food consumed and hydration levels.
Specialized medical examinations can also be helpful, which will show the athlete’s most important respiratory parameters, such as the amount of air in the lungs, the rate at which oxygen is consumed while breathing, and the level of carbon dioxide in the body. A thorough check of the athlete’s health and the capabilities of their respiratory system will allow them to develop their skills faster.
What to pay attention to during the exercises?
Quality and precision of exercise are not everything. In addition to good technique, proper preparation for breath holding and underwater visit is useful. The first aspect to pay attention to is the use of a light diet. The dive itself is best performed on an empty stomach. This allows:
- the lungs can take in more air at one time,
- the level of oxygen consumption decreases, because the body is not burdened with the digestion process,
- the muscles relax more easily,
- less pain is caused by the diaphragm contracting,
- no problems with reflux or indigestion.
As part of the exercises before the actual diving, you can swim with an empty stomach, systematically reducing the feeling of hunger. You should be relaxed and relaxed during any of the exercises to improve your ability to hold your breath. While in the water, keep your movements to a minimum, as physical exertion takes more of the precious oxygen in the water
After ascending, exhalation should be long and supported by the diaphragm. After letting the air out, you can take a deep breath in several times so that it is felt in the diaphragm and chest. This will remove excess carbon dioxide from the body and fill the lungs with fresh air.
Sample exercises for freedivers
Any longer training should take place under the supervision of an expert, who will ensure the full safety of the athlete. When practicing in open water, it is worth to mark the place of diving with a special buoy floating on the water.
The first exercise that will improve lung capacity and the ability of breathless breathing is the so-called “packing”. This means taking in air and pushing additional air into your lungs using your cheeks.
In addition, you can also do a preparatory exercise that takes about 2 minutes. First, you inhale for about 5 seconds, then hold in your lungs for about 2 seconds and exhale without using your diaphragm for about 10 seconds. The exercise can be performed interchangeably, using the maximum capacity of the lungs and about 70% of their capacity, so as to systematically build up their capacity.
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