View Full Version : Exercise's Benefits

08-03-2009, 01:03
During my certification classes, I would always surface with much more air than everyone else, even the instructors, and we all started out with the same amount of air. Seeing as I had just finished high school during this time I came to the conclusion (as did my instructors) that my activities in sports really helped my air consumption. I even surpass the expected time when using Nitrox! Running and Swimming were my sports. Cross Country, coupled with grueling swim meets really helped my Cardio. What types of exercises helped you the most?

08-03-2009, 01:23
I found it to be largely psychological.
During my Open Water course I was by far the worst on air. I copped the name of "air pig" from my instructor from our very first dive.

I had lived an active life of skating and mountain biking but had also smoked for 12 years. I had quit smoking at this point, but I figured the damage had been done.

Then with my brother and some of his friends we went to Vanuatu for a week of diving. My first 2 dives were much like my OW, used lots of air. Then on my 3rd dive of the trip, which was my first wreck dive and my deepest, for some reason it all came together on this one. My air consumption came way down. By the end of the trip I was on par with the best of our group. I found I used the least amount of air during night dives, which I found really relaxing. All about comfortability.

Also the water temp there was 30 degrees celcius, sometimes I would dive in my 3mm wetsuit and sometimes just in board shorts. I found I used less air when not wearing a wetsuit as I was so much more comfy.

08-03-2009, 08:22
I agree that the mental aspect makes a HUGE difference. I have noticed a major drop in air consumption simply from relaxing more while on my dives.
I'm not a small guy - 250lbs at 6'1" (down 12lbs since last month :D) ...but on the dives we did this past weekend my wife and I stayed down 10 minutes longer than all but 2 of the people on the boat. I'm sure it was because 1) we had done a few boat dives in the past, others were only used to shore dives and 2) we had been diving the prior 2 weekends and were feeling very comfortable and relaxed in the water.

Granted, an endurance athlete with a very low RHR, more efficient repiratory exchange, and breathing less frequently as a result will certainly have an advantage if all other factors are equal. To reach that level you are going to need to do cardio exercise at higher intensities to challange yourself in the "aerobic range" of your hear rate to bring about significant change. Running, stairmaster, elliptical, biking all at high intensity levels should do the trick over time.

08-03-2009, 22:00
I also agree that the mental aspect is a major contributor. But I must say that the proper weights tend to make a huge difference. Exertion will consume lots of air. If you have not mastered your buoyancy skills the energy you spend trying to swim will make a drastic change in air consumption.

08-05-2009, 12:25
I agree with the above. I think alot of it can be mental. I am not in the best of shape, but I have improved my lifestyle dramatically since taking up diving a year ago (lost 30lbs in the last few months). My issue on air consumption has to do with my dive buddies. If I am diving with a good buddy then my consumption will be about average. Unfortunately, the few charters I have been on and my local dive buddy is notorious for ditching me underwater and I start thinking about everything that can go wrong and the next thing I know I've sucked a whole tank in 20 minutes...

08-12-2009, 23:22
I never know if I'm going to have a dive buddy so always dive with a pony bottle and you know what? I get much more tank time.....so I have to say that the better you feel about the dive the better your air will last, or at lest thats the way it looks to me.


08-13-2009, 12:32
The pony bottle is a good idea. I got a little spare air that I carry with me that helps. I would prefer a larger pony bottle though for sure...

08-13-2009, 15:00
I agree with the mental aspect of it all. I've been physically active my entire life, and while that certainly doesn't hurt, I notice that just becoming more comfortable and in control (through the accumulation of experience) has made me use far less air than prior. It is all about being comfortable.

08-13-2009, 18:42
I think a lot of divers make big improvements in 2 jumps. The first comes from the mental aspect and just getting comfortable underwater. That came in the first 50 or so dives for me.

You can get a second big improvement by increasing your cardiovascular fitness. It probably doesn't matter if you do it by biking, running, swimming, or a machine at the gym. The key is that you are making your body do more with less O2 (ie. more efficient). It will pay huge dividends in diving.

This is the kind of story that tells the tale:
NCDivers.com • View topic - Fitness Program for Scuba Diving (http://www.ncdivers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7236&p=91720)

08-15-2009, 01:55
Agree with the above about mental control and fitness. Also keep in mind exercise helps you out when you do need to do a strenuous dive, so you won't suck even more air dry.

08-17-2009, 16:21
I've been diving more than 30 years and have always had great air consumption, but until recently (in my 50's), I wasn't in the best shape. Now that I'm more fit (okay, a more fit fat man), my SAC is about the same (insert insulting pun here). I go to spin classes 5 days a week and ride my bike 65 to 100+ miles almost every weekend. My resting HR is low, but my air consumption is still pretty-much what it was....

Last year, my then-15yr. old was an air hog. In Bonaire, he used, literally twice the air that he should have. A few months later, in Grand Cayman, it was better, but still poor. I didn't worry or mention it to him, because I KNEW it would improve.

Only this summer, after making lots of dives in less than ideal conditions, did it come down. He how has a rate that puts him in the middle of the range..that is, if it's a big boat of 12, he'll be in that last group of 4 or 5 divers coming out, barring deco obligations.

I'm thinking I saw the big change in him after 50 or 60 dives, right about the time he turned 16. I suspect his air consumption will continue to improve.

Tassie Diver
08-18-2009, 17:39
The OP sounds like he has a very good VO2 Max. Put simply, his body is able to extract a high proportion of oxygen from every breath. While cardio vascular training can improve VO2 Max, the amount of O2 a person's body can utilise per breath is largely hereditary.

So, once an averagely fit person has done enough dives to be relaxed and comfortable in the water, their SAC is not going to significantly improve.

After a couple of hundred dives, the only solution to running out of gas, is to start with more! Big twins anyone?