GENERAL DIVING: The Skill of Breathing

GENERAL DIVING: The Skill of Breathing

The Skill of Breathing

Do you ever get a headache after a dive? You’ve had a great dive, but the side effect seems to be this awful headache!

The chances are that you are not breathing correctly when diving.

Problem Identification

Many divers try to maximise the amount of time under the water by changing the way they breath. This may include skip breathing which is a technique whereby the diver breathes in holds their breath for a short period and breaths out and repeats. This can lead to many issues but one of these is the build-up of carbon dioxide that is not being adequately expelled from the body creating hypercapnia! Basically, the build-up of the carbon dioxide is what is causing your headaches.

Breathing too quickly and not allowing your body the time (the breathing out length of time) to expel all the carbon dioxide that has accumulated in your body.


So, how do you fix this? Well, there is the one end of the spectrum where you could invest some time in the art of meditation where you learn the art of breathing correctly. Apart from being extremely rewarding in all aspects of your life and a great way to control stress it will help your diving no end. If meditation is not for you a simple rule of thumb is to (whilst diving):

·         Breath in for 4 counts (seconds), and

·         Breath out for 7 counts

Or there abouts – the main point to note is to breath out longer than you are breathing in.

Diving is a recreational activity and you should be relaxed and calm. You are not on a sports field you are merely hanging in the water and relaxing as much as possible whilst you slowly make your way around the marine environment

Happy Diving,

Will Paterson
300+ dives


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