Just like any other sports taken seriously, Freediving also changes lifestyle. It may change the way you think, take care of your body, what you feed yourself, your priorities and more. People do so because this allows them to perform better in their chosen sports.
After years of freediving, I realized that my lifestyle has gradually changed. This allowed me to hold my breath longer and dive deeper safely. It was possible as well as I coupled it with trainings and frequent dives. With that, allow me to share with you as to what and how mine specifically changed.
Avoiding Getting Sick
Freedivers are not supposed to get sick especially during dive days. Catching cough and colds, for instance, could keep us from diving. This is because the mucus clogs the respiratory airways which may pose problems when the diver descends (i.e. difficulty in equalizing). Thus, days or even weeks before the dive trips, Freedivers would stay away as much as possible from everything that could get their respiratory airways congested or basically get them sick. In this way, they could dive safely.
Personally, I would chug down Liters of water, do steam inhalation and stay away from air-conditioned rooms before dives. As a frequent diver, I had to avoid getting sick or even getting my airways congested for a safe dive.
Freediving reframed my thinking about working out. Before, I would just follow any workout that could generally get my body look toned. However, when I started taking diving seriously, I became more particular about my routine. I started matching my workouts with the demands of the sport. From the usual HIIT and core exercises, I included Yoga in my program to work on my flexibility, muscle strength and mobility as well. Apart from working out on my flexibility, I chose to do yoga combined with some meditation and breathworks.
Part of my goals to stay fit for Freediving is also changing my diet into a healthy one. I started shifting from “I’ll eat whatever I can and want because I have an ectomorphic body” to a healthy diet. I would eat food that are rich in good carbohydrates, good fats, source of electrolytes and more protein. Keeping myself hydrated all the time is an integral part of it. Just a few years ago, I started drinking less of coffee and more of water and tea (with less to no caffeine); never a shot of alcohol, too. This diet, combined with a good regular workout, honestly helped me improve my performance.
I would also have cheat days where I would eat a little bit of everything but not before any dives. In this way, I don’t get myself deprived. I started to become more aware as well of the amount of this and that; of what I feed my body. If I get too much of the junk, I would detoxify and stay away from it for a certain period of time. This is where the discipline comes in.
Unlike any other sports, one has to be extremely relaxed, more like in a trance-like state when Freediving. Being in such a state allows one to conserve air and slows down CO2 build up; thus, a safe dive. To achieve this, the freedivers have to engage into a relaxation exercise before holding one’s breath.
Meditation is one of the most fascinating relaxation practices that I have learned when I started Freediving seriously. In this activity, I can sort all my thoughts and leave all the worries and stressful ones behind. It eases all the tension in me, physically and mentally as it empties my mind allowing me to focus on relaxation itself. Thinking consumes oxygen which I should save up as much as possible especially when diving. When I became comfortable with meditating, I would only think of one thing and focus on that without getting bothered by both internal and external factors. This keeps me from hyperventilating; hence, a good and safe dive.
The thing is, meditation is not just a practice that helped me in Freediving but how I generally deal with a lot of people and things everyday. It helps me overcome stress and anxiety. It’s always a good way to ease into and end a day.
If you would also want to try practicing meditation, you can start with a guided one. I used Insight Timer mobile application for this! You can try doing it with a Tibetan Singing bowl, too! Body scanning is seriously easy with it. It just feels lighter and better every after a session.
Breathwork or breathing exercises usually come with Yoga and meditation. It relaxes both the mind and body as one engage into a rhythmic breathing pattern. More often than not, a lot of people doing it would engage into abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing. Frequent breathing exercises could also increase one’s lung capacity. Lastly, various studies have proven its health benefits.
I would do breathing exercises for relaxation as a preparation for a dive. But doing so is not limited to that. Just like meditation, I would also engage into breathwork especially when I am stressed and anxious. This helps me as well to focus and even calm down from an emotional turbulence. Just like what people around us would say in our sudden outburst, “Take a deep breath”. It really does work.
Since divers are mostly in the ocean, they are very much aware of its situation including the life that it holds. During fun dives or actually even just snorkeling around, we would see trash suspended in the water, stuck in corals or ingested by sea creatures. Knowing how it slowly kills the ocean, different freediving communities would organize clean up dives joined by concerned and volunteer divers to keep these trash out of the waters.
For someone who really cares the most, even the things that they use or what they do gradually change for the benefit of the ocean. These people would rethink their ways in and out of the waters and how it could affect the ocean. One way to do so is through living a Zero-waste lifestyle.
You may also want to read: Our Simple Acts that Damage the Corals
Freediving changes lifestyle, In a Nutshell
Freediving changes lifestyle indeed and we also get several benefits from doing it. However, this lifestyle shift is still a choice. It starts from a change in mindset, habits until it becomes a discipline as you set your eyes into progress or improvement on your performance. You would only change for the better if you choose to.
How did freediving change yours? Tell us about it. If you are still not freediving, what’s keeping you from learning and doing it?
Learn freediving today! Check these links that would help you on that:
- How do I Start Freediving? A Beginner’s Guide
- The Differences between SCUBA Diving, Freediving and Skin Diving