Freediving & Water
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Freediving & Water



Freediving & Water

By Brandon Gross - FII Instructor, Deep Freedive, San Diego


As freedivers, we are passionate about water. It frees our bodies from the weight of gravity and our minds from everything else. It also holds us captive when we are not diving, making us yearn for the next time we can be immersed. Equally important to the water we dive in is the water that we ingest to keep ourselves hydrated. Unfortunately, our need for hydration is often overlooked.

Martin Stepanek freedive

Some interesting figures:

  • The Earth is covered by about 71% water.
  • When we are born we are comprised of about 70% water.
  • Our muscles and brain have about 75% water content.
  • Our blood is about 83% water.
  • Our lungs have about 86% water content.

(It is interesting that our bodily water content is so close to the percentage of what covers the Earth. Perhaps we are even more closely bound than we think.)

What does this mean to us as freedivers and how can we use this to our advantage? It means that water is essential for our bodies to function properly. Water lubricates our joints, carries off toxins, and makes our blood more efficient when delivering nutrients and gases. It provides a moist environment for our ears, nose and throat.

If we properly hydrate our brain we will be more focused. The ability to think clearly is an absolute must to our sport, especially from a safety standpoint. If our joints are well lubricated then our shoulders, hips, knees and ankles are going to feel better. If our muscles are properly hydrated we will be less prone to cramps. Drinking enough water thins our mucus making a significant difference in our ability to properly equalize. Dehydration can actually increase our chances of hypoxic incidents like shallow water blackout and loss of motor control.

As freedivers, we are more susceptible to dehydration. Why? When our aquatic adaptations (mammalian dive reflex) kick in, we lose a lot of water through urination. We also cannot feel ourselves perspiring due to our wetsuits and the water that surrounds us. Our deep diaphragmatic breathing also causes us to lose water. All these factors combined make us prime candidates for dehydration. Just 1-2% of our body weight lost in water can make a significant difference in our physical and mental abilities.

Fortunately, it is easy to hydrate and enjoy the multitude of health and performance benefits of being properly hydrated. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average male should drink about 3 liters of water a day and the average female about 2.2 liters per day. It is important to develop a habit of carrying water with you wherever you go. Take sips every now and then and you will be surprised how easy it is to drink enough water to stay hydrated. So get out there and discover all the physical, mental and emotional benefits of our wonderful blue world by enjoying all the benefits that water provides us, inside and out.

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