From the azure blue color of underwater to strange unknown marine life, the world below the sea is simply inviting. A scuba diver’s life underwater also has another ‘advantage’ added to it – challenge! Yes, you read that right.
This is the guy who is always expected to mind his environment, check the level of the gas at his scuba tank from time to time, decompress, check altitude, remember his task, and all the while keep breathing…deep.
While maintaining constant deep breaths may be challenging at times, it is one of the most important things a diver needs to do while underwater. Not only does it conserve the air in the cylinder but also keeps the diver physically and mentally fit. Here is how deep breathing improves scuba diver’s health.
1. Gets You Livelier
A scuba diver’s deep breath is very characteristic. It consists of deliberately slow and deep breathing in for up to 3 to 5 seconds, followed by a pause, and then breathing out for a similar duration, and repeating the same.
Deep breathing perks up oxygen intake and starts a series of important cycles in our system as follows:
- Well-oxygenated muscles break down food and provide enough energy for the task ahead. You will dive farther against the currents below, and feel more motivated to do the task in front of you.
- Your lungs will be able to hold as well as release more air. This will prepare you for fast movements if need be, and reduce the urge to breathe in more often. That way you will save a lot of gas.
- More oxygen means that blood will not be rushing to supply air to the tissues. This will reduces blood pressure, and improve overall circulation in your body.
- When you inhale more air, your diaphragm muscle expands. This strengthens and lengthens the muscle and enables you to breathe for longer, more deeply, and at a slower speed. As a result, your body can acclimatize to situations with low oxygen concentration. You become better at diving to lower altitudes where there is less oxygen.
The above cycle helps you stick to your dive plan, attempt more exciting dive locations, and promote a positive attitude toward scuba diving. This is because you can use less gas, achieve more as well as enjoy the dive. It is therefore advisable to invest in dive gear that doesn’t interfere with your deep breathing. For instance, don’t go for a wetsuit that is too tight.
2. Spikes Your Attention And Focus
If you are going to count your breaths, then you really need to maintain focus. Yet to a scuba diver, deep breathing becomes more like second nature, a way of life, and a method of concentrating on calming the mind.
The focus generated is also transferred into your day-to-day activities to make you more aware of the surrounding with the least effort.
Everyday duties like the release of weight, deploying SMB, buckling up a spare snorkel, selection of backup gears, checking of dive computer calibrations require a keen eye. Planning for deep dives in harsher conditions of increasing pressure, cold and strong currents wears you down and causes you to increase the rate of breathing. And if you are having one of those masks that require you to clear it, then you really might be tied down. Deep breathing alone can however make you escape from such stress.
3. Improves Buoyancy
One way how deep breathing improves a scuba diver’s health is that he ends up minimizing the use of the fins by being able to control his buoyancy and expend less energy on swimming through the current.
Good control of buoyancy means more air conservation and of course an extended dive period. A longer period under the waters will allow you more time for photographs, finding better dive locations, and more time for checking the right lenses for each task. Just keep checking the time lest you forget getting back on the surface!
4. Adds Spirit To Your Job
You have seen the team and their master after a dive. Their energy after they resurface does not remind you of people who hate the underwater world. To say the least, they cherish every dive.
Your ability to move from one dive to another without losing the resilience, and to recover quickly after each dive, will be generated by proper deep breathing because it takes away the anxiety attached to your expectations. You show that you can meet any challenge ahead of you, and even more inspiring, you prove it after you resurface. Soon it changes into a way of life.
5. Relieves Stress
Another way how deep breathing improves a scuba diver’s health is that he can avoid decompression sickness or embolism associated with improper breathing techniques. To make sure you are taking the deep breaths properly:
- Breathe in for 3 to 5 seconds.
- Pause, keeping your airways open. This is easy. Just keep your throat open a bit more as you add up a little more air by the close of inhalation.
- Breathe out for 3 to 5 seconds.
The pause, while adding more air into the diaphragm should however not be replaced by holding of breath as this would make bubbles flow up your bloodstream which could cause complications in your body.
6. Better Slumber
Want some good sleep? Practice deep breathing.
The calmness brought about by deep breathing calms the mind and enables you to enjoy your sleep more. You are not assured of meeting the ocean life in your dreams though, but who cares? You can still meet them tomorrow, in real life.
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Times, when the world did not understand how deep breathing improves scuba diver’s health, is long gone. In the present world, we understand that deep breathing will help you appreciate the life of the ocean for longer. It will also enable you to ascend and descend at your pace through proper buoyancy control.
Deep breathing practiced daily will improve your sleep pattern, keep your body livelier by improving blood flow to the tissues, and in turn give you energy throughout the day. You will be able to get more oxygen into your lungs and breathe calmly in situations where there is less oxygen. Because you can also focus better, you will be aware of your environment and therefore key in the details of your dive plans, faster.
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- How Deep Breathing Improves A Scuba Diver’s Health, scubacompare.com
- Dive Training: Save Your Breath, scubadiving.com