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New divers are generally the first ones to the surface during a dive. The excitement and the rush causes them to breath more rapidly and, therefore, consume air more rapidly.

Lowering your air consumption will be easier then you think it is

As we become more comfortable underwater, our air consumption will improve. Many divers find that either the improvement is too slow or it is not enough and look for other answers. If you are a new diver or an experienced one whose consumption is not where you want it we have some suggestions.

Most People are Never Taught How to Breathe “Properly”

We know that breathing does not need to be taught, but most people over time develop an not as efficient alternative method. When we start to dive, we find that the alternative is not as effective as the natural method.

Natural breathing is from the belly, or more accurate the diaphragm. The diaphragm should provide about 70% of the effort to breath, with the remainder from different muscle groups including abdomen, neck, chest, and the shoulders.

The movement of the diaphragm creates a pressure difference that either forces air out of the lungs or draws it in. What most people adapt to is primarily using the chest muscles. This method is shallow and does provide enough air in relaxed situations. It also causes a pressure difference as the chest expands or contracts.

When we dive the pressure on the body means the chest muscles must work harder to expand. In the long run, this is tiring, and the increased effort increases our heart rate and air consumption.

Also read: How your health will benefit from scuba diving

The breathing using the chest is not as deep which means we are not clearing out as much carbon dioxide as we could. The increased carbon dioxide levels cause the efficient transfer of oxygen in the lungs to lessen as well.

Proper breathing using the diaphragm helps for a calmer dive and a better transfer of oxygen. Many sports doctors will tell you that training yourself for diaphragm breathing is essential for improved performance. There are many books and courses available to help you make this transformation to better breathing.

Planning a scuba trip? Then you should download the ultimate scuba dive checklist just like 5000+ other divers already so you will not forget to bring anything.

Learn how to Breathe effectively through Your Mouth

You might have problems adapting to breathing just using your mouth. This will not affect the air consumption greatly, but it is possible that you will feel “starved” for air, and your breathing will become erratic. This can increase shallow and uneven breathing that will impact your buoyancy control.

If you have other buoyancy control problems should consider taking the PADI peak performance buoyancy course.

You will Lower Your Air Consumption when you practice breathing slowly

The only real way to consume less air on a dive is to breathe slower. Being relaxed will slow your breathing. Besides, ways to help you to relax being fit helps you to use less energy and keeps your breathing under better control.

An unfit person could be breathing hard just walking up steps while a person who is fit will have no problem at all. While we might not notice it, when diving, our muscles are always working. Being fit means we do not need to increase our breathing.

Using your diaphragm and slow, measured breaths will reduce your air consumption. You should keep your breathing as regular as you can and never hold your breath.

As you will recall, holding your breath can rupture your lungs and lead to death. The combination of these items and practice will show drastic improvements in your dive times.

What are your tips and tricks on how to lower your air consumption when scuba diving? Let us know in the comments below

Planning a scuba trip? Then you should download the ultimate scuba dive checklist just like 5000+ other divers already so you will not forget to bring anything.

Article written by Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam, he runs and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.

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