Proper Breathing

What is proper breathing? Why do some people try to use breath to save gas consumption? And why is that wrong?

Proper breathing starts with an inhalation and immediate exhalation then pause for 3 to 5 seconds before the next inhalation. Also known as Eupneic breathing or the natural breathing cycle that you use while resting, reading, watching tv, or sleeping. People should breathe what they need and not try to conserve gas by using CO2 retentive techniques.

Most people that complain about headaches after dives are breathing incorrectly.

Most people actually hold their breath upon inhaling due to buoyancy issues being improper weighting or trim.

These issues are actually taught in the first OW courses they do, as students are taught during the “Fin Pivot” that lungs empty is negative, lungs full is positive and therefore by default lungs half full is neutral.

Try walking with your lungs half full and see what happens to your breathing rate.. It usually increases and becomes shallow and rapid due to the retained CO2.

Improper propulsion techniques are also a reason for extra consumption.

When you swim across a pool and want to go fast you would use a freestyle stroke and thus a flutter kick.
This is a kick and a kick and a kick without glide and therefore causes more exertion thus increasing the breathing rate due to the need for O2 to feed the muscles and as this O2 is consumed there is an increase in CO2 production.

If you were to swim across the pool as slow as you could you would use a breast stroke thus a frog kick.. this is a kick and glide, kick and glide, lessening the demand for gas due to the relaxed nature of the kick.

I have to re-train most divers including instructors to breathe properly in most courses I teach due to the reasons mentioned above.

The first and most important reason for breathing is to get rid of CO2 not to conserve gas.

The only proper way to conserve gas is:
First and most important: Proper breathing technique.
Second: In-water comfort, this is achieved through practice and proper training.
Third: Better buoyancy control through proper weighting and trim. Fourth: Better trim thus increasing streamlining to decrease drag and increase glide.
Lastly: Proper streamlining of equipment, NO danglies.

Simply put when you have to breathe. Breathe!

The amount of gas you have at the end of a dive doesn’t make you a better diver than anyone else, your technique however does.

Posted 23/08/2014 by Sirius Diving