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The Impossible Physiology of the Free Diver (nautil.us)
64 points by dnetesn on Mar 27, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments

I was an avid free diver before I joined the Army (to be a diver no less) and during a medical examination they did x-rays of my chest. The doctor came back surprised and told me my lungs were 25% larger than normal. Even now I take one breath for every two my wife takes. I always thought it was kind of cool.

For me free diving is a spiritual thing. Nowhere else am I more calm, more sure of myself, I can be a visitor to an entirely different world.

Do you think that free diving resulted in larger lung capacity? Or that you have always had larger lung capacity, and thus enjoyed free diving more than most people?

It was the training for freediving, although I grew up next to the ocean and have been swimming the majority of my life so I'm sure that plays a part.

What the article doesn't mention is most people can increase their lung capacity using several techniques like over-unders (pool drills where you swim across a pool alternating between underwater and regular),Oxygen tables, breathing patterns (think meditation), and working out while holding your breath (be careful with that one, I'd suggest just walking holding your breath first).

I'm not about to try freediving without proper instruction, but some of those sound generally useful.

Can you share any good resources for training?

Sure thing.

Breathing exercises: http://freedivingexplained.blogspot.com/2008/03/freediving-t... The "go to" forum for me: https://www.deeperblue.com/

Sort of OT: is the movie, "The Big Blue" semi-realistic? Or is 'only' beautiful?

I've dived at the Blue Hole mentioned, in Dahab. Scuba, but was out with freedivers too. Also Swedes. It's a beautiful yet chilling place, with gravestones lining the surrounding rock walls. Divers who didn't come back. Macho Russians saddling up multiple tanks of helium to reach seldom seen depths.

Read some of their literature, the freedivers, participated in some of their training sessions and saw first hand how they have completely mastered their oxygen requirements.

It's quite something to be able to swim unaided for several minutes at a time. Lots of reports of peacefulness and relaxation. The closest I can get is when snorkelling, dipping under for a while. Not a patch, I'm sure.

The human body (and mind) never ceases to amaze. Just wow!

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