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Scuba Diving Breathing Techniques to Improve your Air Consumption

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Scuba diving breathing techniques are among the most interesting skills of this sport since you will be able to take advantage of them in and out of the water.

  • If you often ask for tips to improve your air consumption, this article is for you.
  • If you want to be a better scuba diver, you are in the right place.
  • If you haven’t even dived once in your life, read on, because these techniques also have a practical application on the surface and will surprise you.

The Importance of Scuba Diving Breathing Techniques

Breathing is a cycle that begins when you let air into your lungs and ends when you expel CO2 and other gases. Taking into account that we breathe in and out 21,000 times per day (an average of 18 times per minute) and that every minute we move between five and six liters / 1.3 and 1.6 gallons of air, we can say every 24 hours we move between 7,200 and 8,600 liters / 1902 and 2272 gallons of air. You know how to breathe, it is obvious. Now we have to improve the technique.

Controlling our breathing rhythm is essential to scuba diving. In fact, it’s one of the first things we were taught in our Open Water Course. Do you remember what the key message was? Yes, never hold your breath!  The reason is that breathing you’re going to:

– influence your air consumption;
– control your buoyancy;
– relax.

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On what principle are Scuba Diving Breathing Techniques Based?

In the article: 10 Scuba Tech Tips to Improve Your Diving Air Consumption we treat this point in depth. Making a summary, CO2 is the main reason why our body needs to breathe. We need to remove carbon dioxide particles at the same rate as they are produced. If not, our brains will require our lungs to breathe faster. For this reason, we should never stop breathing when diving. Doing so will accumulate CO2 in our bodies. The lower the level of carbon dioxide in the body, the less the need to breathe. The second point on which scuba diving breathing techniques are based is to keep as much oxygen as possible in our blood with the least respiratory effort. The main issue is that, as far as the hydrostatic pressure increases, air consumption increases, respiratory effort increases, and fatigue occurs. To avoid this, we have to control the rhythm and breathe slowly and deeply.

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Scuba Diving Breathing Techniques: Slow Diaphragmatic Breathing.

This scuba diving breathing technique consists of using the diaphragm to bring air into the lower third of the lungs. In this part, we can produce a greater exchange of gases. However, we normally use the chest muscles, so our breathing is shallow.

This scuba diving breathing technique’s value is to bring air to the most efficient part of our lungs. What does this mean? It will not be necessary to inhale such a large volume of air to provide oxygen to our cells, saving air in our tanks.

Did you know psychologists teach this scuba diving breathing technique to their patients to calm anxiety? It is not a surprise if we think this type of breathing helps lower the heart beat and stimulates relaxation. This aspect is extremely useful for divers. You know: the less stress, the less CO2 we produce.

Practicing diaphragmatic breathing on the surface

This scuba diving breathing technique is also known as abdominal breathing, to practice it follow these steps.

  1. Put one of your hands on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
  2. Inhale slowly, counting to two. Do it so that the hand you have on the abdomen rises. The hand you have on your chest will serve to check that it does not move.
  3. Count to four to expel the air and feel your abdomen sink.

The breathing techniques practiced in Yoga are very appropriate as well. With them, you will learn to use the diaphragm to breathe and thus take advantage of all the capacity of your lungs to breathe more efficiently. With these breathing techniques for diving, you will also reduce stress levels underwater and during your surface intervals. You already know a little more about breathing techniques for diving, but if you still have any questions, don’t hesitate, contact us.

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