Air Consumption: how to get the most out of your dives. - By Verity Burges
We all have experienced the feeling of looking down at our air gauge and being surprised at how much air we have consumed. Air consumption comes down to a number of factors including how frequently you dive, are you correctly weighted, personal fitness level and whether you're in control of your breathing and buoyancy.
Whilst you may not be able to dive as regularly as the Divemaster there are a number of small changes that can lead to a big difference in your overall air usage. Things to assist with better air consumption include doing a buoyancy check, especially after not diving for a prolonged period of time. If you are correctly weighted you are going to put less air in your BCD and also have better buoyancy. If you feel like your buoyancy needs some work, talk to the instructor about doing a Buoyancy course.
Although diving is a low impact sport, being in good physical shape is going to help you make dives more enjoyable. One of the best activities you can do for diving is yoga. This will assist with your flexibility, making it easier to get in and out of your equipment, getting on and off the dive boat and will help you focus on your breathing. Taking control of your breathing and relaxing are important skills in helping you become a better diver.
Visualization is another technique. Take some time on the boat pre-dive to collect your thoughts and imagine a relaxed dive. Visualize the dive and how relaxed you will be under the ocean, run through the steps mentally from the pre-dive buddy check, to your giant stride, your descent and how calm and streamlined you will be once under the sea.
Once you’re in the water remember to keep any hand movement to a minimum, use efficient fin kicks, ensure all your gear is streamlined and finally remember to breathe. Diving by nature is not a race, so whilst under water you want to keep any exertion to a minimum. This means that you should avoid swimming into currents, any rapid movements and keep your breathing controlled at all times. If you find yourself overexerting, stop, focus on your breathing and be amazed that we are able to enjoy our moments under the sea.
Hope this helps you get the most out of your diving.