Do you want to lower your air consumption when scuba diving so that you can go on longer dives or retain a better buoyancy? Many new divers find themselves wanting to lower their air consumption and in most cases this will come naturally as they progress in scuba.
However sometimes even seasoned divers can struggle to conserve their air. Mastering a proper breathing technique doesn’t always come easy however there are a few things that you can do to master breath control. These teqnicues can help you relax above water too.
Most People are Never Taught How to Breathe “Properly”
Think back to your first open water dive lesson and see if you can remember being taught any proper breathing techniques. Most people are just told to breathe naturally, which unless you are a scuba prodigy or actually have gills, is out of the question.
Not only are you forced to bite down on a regulator and breathe through it you also have bubbles rushing past your face when you breathe out; this is enough to freak out any new diver and certainly won’t lead to them breathing normally.
Breathe Through Your Mouth
One thing that many new scuba divers struggle with is breathing solely through their mouth instead of through the nose and mouth like most people do above water. When scuba diving for the first time most divers will try to focus on breathing like this but when other things are thrown into the mix like hand signals, buoyancy control and trying not to freak out, it’s easy to forget and start breathing out through the nose again.
One of the best ways to practice this is above land. When doing mindless tasks such as cleaning, coach yourself into breathing solely through your mouth; this will help make it easier when under the water leaving you free to focus on other things.
Practice Breathing Slowly
The only real way to consume less air on a dive is to breathe slower. The reason why new divers use up larger amounts of air than seasoned divers is because the majority panic when underwater which is only natural yet uses up a lot more air. Once you start to get calmer underwater you will start to use less air naturally.
If you still feel that you are using too much air return to the mindless activities we mentioned above. Whilst doing something that requires little attention try practicing your breathing. Breathe in for four seconds and out for four. When you can do this naturally increase this to five or six seconds. Also consider to enroll the PADI peak performance buoyancy course.
Don’t starve yourself of air or hold your breath as this underwater could cause you to hyperventilate which will again cause you to breathe more quickly but try and get yourself into a regular calm rhythm which you can then duplicate underwater.
Don’t expect to be able to breathe perfectly the first time you dive. Breathing underwater is not natural and learning to do it calmly and slowly takes time and practice. Once you have perfected a controlled, rhythmic breathing technique you will find that it is well worth the effort. Good luck!