Freediving Benefits – Why Is It Good for Your Body and Mind?
Freediving is not only an exciting water sport, but it has numerous positive impacts on health from stress relief and improved focus to stronger muscles and more flexible lungs. Here we are going to explore the benefits of freediving in 13 ways and how it can improve your overall fitness of both your body and your mind.
Helps release stress and anxiety
Many of us lead busy lives, filled with stress, anxiety, deadlines, and responsibilities. Freediving allows you to switch off from these things for an hour or so of the day and focus your mind on one joyful thing. It’s a time you can dedicate to relaxation and fun.
Breathwork is a key part of freediving and has been proven to calm the mind and reduce stress and anxiety. Many freedivers practice meditation and breathwork, even on days they aren’t diving. Controlled breathing and focus of the breath is the most important when freedivers prepare for a dive, but it is also a great way to relax and feel calm even when not hitting the water.
Improves focus and discipline
Freediving allows you to set goals and targets to work towards. If you are a beginner, you might set yourself the goal of improving your finning technique. More experienced divers might work towards a personal best depth or even a competition.
It’s easy to keep on track with your freediving goals because it’s fun! There are always things to improve in your freediving, even the best freedivers in the world continue to improve and practice.
This improved discipline and focus will translate to your everyday life, you might find you have more focus at work, you’re better at meeting deadlines, or you set yourself targets in other sports and hobbies.
Increases lung capacity
Freediving regularly allows your lungs to become stronger and more flexible. This is due to the increased pressure you are exposing them to. Lung strength and lung capacity are beneficial to the quality of breathing, which helps with any physical activity you do.
Lung flexibility is beneficial to freediving because it reduces the likelihood of getting a lung squeeze (lung barotrauma) which can happen when the lungs are exposed to extreme depths and/or dramatic movements at these depths.
Makes your body more flexible
Many freedivers practice yoga and daily stretching as part of their freediving training as the more flexible you are, the more easily you move in the water.
Regular stretching also relaxes the muscles and helps them to use less oxygen as you dive. Whether you dive on a regular basis or just occasionally, it’s a nice habit to keep up to maintain flexibility and strength.
Gives a sense of belonging
Freediving is a very social activity. Most freediving hubs around the world are filled with welcoming divers of all levels, eager to share wisdom and hear each other’s stories. It can be hard to meet new people when you don’t know what to say, but with freedivers you will have at least one common interest to talk about for hours.
It’s good to meet and mix with other freedivers so you always have a dive buddy, and you can plan diving trips together. You’re likely to make lifelong friends. A healthy social life will improve happiness and reduce feelings of loneliness.
Keeps your joints strong and healthy
Some land-exercises such as running can, over time, impact your knees and other joints in a negative way. Water exercises such as freediving can reduce pressure on the joints, reduce swelling, and increase motion range.
Tones your muscles
It’s no surprise that freediving involves a lot of swimming, which is a great aerobic workout because it involves the whole body.
Swimming out to the diving buoy, treading water, performing safety for your buddy, and freediving by kicking or pulling the rope are all ways to keep your body strong and toned, and can even help you to lose weight.
Makes your body use oxygen more efficiently
Freediving underwater triggers something called the mammalian dive reflex Part of this phenomenon is that the spleen increases the amount of red blood cells, which increases oxygen efficiency.
When you practice freediving regularly, you will find that your tolerance for hypoxia improves due to frequent breath holds at depth.
Freediving allows you to see what you are really capable of and discover how you act under pressure or stress. Being underwater with no access to air is something that goes against all our natural instincts as humans.
As you do this more and more you will learn to trust yourself and the water around you. You will discover new sides of your personality and characteristics.
Boosts your confidence
When you learn about freediving by taking courses, you will find that your self-confidence improves dramatically. This comes from starting as a beginner and seeing yourself improve over time, you will do things you never thought you were capable of.
As you will reach new depths and become more confident in deep water, you will gain more confidence in life.
Your nutrition and lifestyle get better
As you learn in the first freediving courses, it is not ideal to dive on a full stomach, especially a stomach full of greasy, heavy foods. Diving regularly encourages healthy nutrition because it simply does not feel good to dive when you are full of unhealthy foods. A light breakfast of fruit or oatmeal is perfect a few hours before you go diving, some freedivers even choose to fast until after their dive to improve relaxation and feel good in the water.
Many freedivers also avoid alcohol and dairy products which are thought to have a negative effect on the congestion. Congestion can disrupt equalization and ruin a dive session.
Makes you care for the health of the planet
As you freedive you will probably become more curious and excited by the marine life you will see. You will be able to swim next to beautiful and elegant creatures big and small. As you grow to appreciate those that live underwater, you might become more passionate about protecting their habitat.
Many freedivers are advocates for ocean conservation and eco-conscious living. If you dive alongside plastic bags and discarded fishing nets, you will be more eager to do what you can to fix these issues. The more freedivers that spread the word, the quicker we can improve the health of the planet.
You spend more time with nature
Freediving is a mostly outdoor activity that allows you to immerse yourself in nature. Modern life has brought technology and social media which have created a distance between humans and the natural world. It has been found that spending more time in nature gives a positive boost to health and well-being, both mentally and physically. Practicing freediving forces you to put down the phone and get back to your primal roots.
Freediving is beneficial to your body and mind for so many reasons. You can become stronger, more focused, and develop a healthy and happy social life. Have we convinced you to take up freediving?
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AG is a certified diver and freediver who started to explore the underwater world in 2005. He enjoys sharing his experience of the best freediving destinations and equipment tips as well. Follow him on IG!