Hey! We all love swimming pools, don’t we? Is there anyone who has been to a swimming pool on vacations with Friends and family and not tried the challenge of Who Can Stay Underwater for the Longest time?! It is always fun to do this, isn’t it?
So, as in my College I get to learn about the fascinating Physiologies of the Amazing Human body, I was tempted to share a trick to this challenge to every non-Medicine-studying friend of mine!
Caution: Such activities must be performed in presence of trained diving experts as it may lead to drowning. Too much Hyperventilation (I.e. fast breathing) may also lead to uneasiness sometimes. In such cases avoid going underwater then.
The mechanism of Breathing is based on the Partial pressure of Oxygen and Carbon dioxide in different parts of the body. Each gas moves from its High Partial pressure to low Partial pressure region. Now, the main reason for breathing is not the Need to take in Oxygen, but it is the Need to release CO2 that we breathe for. When we cannot bear more accumulation of CO2 in our lungs we are forced to release the air we have been storing and breathe; even if we have oxygen which can supply the tissues some longer!
So as it is CO2 what regulates breathing, the trick lies in preventing or slowing down the accumulation of CO2 in our lungs.
When you breathe normally, let amount of CO2 in your lungs at the end of exhalation be 0. Let the level of CO2 at which you must exhale the stored air be 2. Now when the competition/challenge starts all the participants will almost have to reach from 0 to approx 2 (depending on individual lung capacity) and time taken by each, may just slightly vary..
But if You Hyperventilate( breathe rapidly and deeply for a FEW seconds) just before the commencement of the Competition, you can exhale forcefully; taking the amount of CO2 at end of exhalation at some negative number, let’s assume -1. (These numbers are not according to Physiological ratios but are just for the sake of understanding ).
So now you have the time to go from -1 to 0 also which no one else in the pool may have! So by the time you reach the point they have started, others have already used half of their capacity! ( It’s like when velocities of different cars are same, The one which has to cover More Distance, takes More time; Simillary when you have more volume of your Lung to be filled, you take more time to fill it to it’s limit and hence can stay underwater without breathing quiet longer)
Also, Splashing cold water on your face just before going underwater can slow down the heart rate according to Mammalian diving reflex by further slowing down breathing!
To permanently increase the lung capacity, one should Practise Deep Breathing regularly. Cardio exercises help strengthen our Cardiovascular system which is very important for athletes and dancers and musicians who can’t go out of breath for a long performance! Counting the seconds while you inhale, hold and exhale your breath is also a helpful exercise to focus and improvise on breathing!
Hope you enjoyed reading this real first blog of mine! Do share your valuable comments and Have a Great day!