Why NOT to hyperventilate before a dive?
Hyperventilation is when we breathe faster than is required, the first sign of excessive hyperventilation is tingling and dizziness.
Freediving is a growing sport, not so long ago many divers used hyperventilation as a common practice for breath-ups before the dive. The results where dangerous and knowing what we know now, counter productive. Let me start with the problems of hyperventilation:
- For starters, hyperventilation increases our heart beat, when what we want to do before a dive is relax and slow down the heart.
- Another reason is that when we breath faster than we need to we remove Co2 which gives us the indication to breathe. Therefore our bodies will use O2 more freely and supply all our organs and muscles. This is the opposite of the diving reflex which tries to use O2 sparingly and only where it is most needed.
- Next, when you hyperventilate and saturate the blood with O2 and remove CO2, you trick your body in thinking you have more O2 than you actually have, a friend of mine once blacked out without any warning signs because he hyperventilated before the dive. It is like driving a car with a broken fuel gauge.
- Next, buy hyperventilating you postpone contractions therefore postpone the dive reflex. The result is using O2 less efficiently, therefore spending less time underwater.
- Next, intense hyperventilation reduces blood pressure causing nausea or feinting.
Summary: Knowing the facts, they should speak for themselves, hyperventilation is a thing of the past, now you know better.