What is Freediving?
Freediving or Apnea, is diving under the surface on a single breath without the aid of any breathing equipment. To some, that may sound ridiculous. Why would anyone want to do that if scuba diving equipment exists? Freediving is all about pushing the limits of the human body; diving deeper, staying submerged longer, and most importantly developing a peaceful mindset whilst doing so.
How deep can freedivers go?
Although it may seem pretty superhuman to be able to dive down to 128 meters under the sea on a single breath (that’s the world record), everyone is able to freedive, the key is to know the tricks of how to do it. Because of our aquatic origins, through time the human body has evolved some incredible features that have allowed us to adapt to the liquid world.
How to Freedive
When you submerge your face in water, you start to activate what is known as the ‘Mammalian Dive Reflex‘. The mammalian dive reflex is a natural physiological reaction that occurs when a human, mammal, or diving bird is submerged in water. There are two main changes in your body that happens when the mammalian dive reflex is activated:
1. Heart Rate Reduction – This sounds scary, but its not! It is actually extremely beneficial for free divers. It is a natural adaptation of the human body to conserve oxygen, which in the end, allows free divers to stay submerged for longer period of time and make deeper dives.
2. Vasoconstriction – This is the narrowing of blood vessels to reduce blood flow. Vasoconstriction is a way for the body to conserve blood and oxygen for the body’s vital organs such as the heart, brain and lungs, instead of using oxygen on less vital peripheral organs.
And guess what, every mammal has a Mammalian Dive Reflex – Even you!
By pairing the Mammalian dive reflex with a few simple breathe up techniques that will allow you to oxygenate your blood even more, five meters or more under the sea on a single breath won’t seem like such a challenge anymore!
It’s up to you to tap into this phenomenal potential and experience one of the best feelings of relaxation as you make one with the ocean environment. Just let go of your previous preconceptions and trust your body, it knows what to do!
‘An Introduction to Freediving’ was written by Etoile.