We have discussed reasons to freedive and whether it is dangerous or not, but let’s talk about what happens after you actually start freediving. What changes occur in your life after you commit to training, start associating with other freedivers, and make specific changes in your daily life in order to improve your freediving? As we know, freediving is not only a sport, but a lifestyle, and this lifestyle is not just for competitive freedivers. Here are 5 ways that your life changes when freediving becomes a part of it.
You are probably aware that smoking and heavy drinking do not mix well with serious freediving training, and plenty of freedivers change these habits. This rule does not apply to everyone, of course, but generally, you may feel that your dives are impacted by what you did last night, whether it is chain-smoking a pack of cigarettes or having a few drinks with friends. Most athletes avoid drinking the night before diving because it causes dehydration, deprives you of quality sleep, saps your energy levels, and decreases your athletic performance. Personally, a month after I quit smoking (shh, don’t tell my mom), I noticed that my resting heart rate dropped from 44bpm to 38bpm, and I felt much more comfortable on my dives and with my breath-holds.
There are tons of articles written on cross-training for freediving, whether it is performing apnea exercises strictly for performances or using cardio, strength, and flexibility training for improving overall fitness and body composition. Freediving also often comes with positives changes in your diet, which is beneficial for your health in general. But what many people might not realize is that freediving takes mental fitness as well. Discipline, confidence, and control, along with overcoming fears, build a healthy mind, which is important for our daily lives as well as for our training.
It is seriously difficult to perform a successful dive when your mind is buzzing with regular life problems. Even when we are not completely blank and peaceful during the dive, if we are worrying about something, it is usually our speed, equalization, contractions, etc., and not the fight we had with our partners last night. Although for many, freediving may be a hobby and not a lifestyle, it is excellent to have something to take your mind off of your normal life and will give you something to look forward to, while also acting as a stress-reliever. Many freedivers also practice meditation and pranayama, which not only benefits their freediving performance, but also their daily lives as well, providing relaxation, increased concentration, and reduced tension.
Freediving usually attracts a certain crowd: relaxed, friendly, laid-back people with positive attitudes. So if you are training with other freedivers at a club or in open water, you are probably making some new friends with these qualities. No matter what outside interests these strangers have, you will always have freediving to bond over, and as we know, you can spend hours upon hours discussing freediving. Our community is a small one, so any friends you make will probably give you helpful tips on diving and technique, introduce you to other freedivers, and might even invite you over for a visit to wherever they are for some training.
If you want to train depth and are somewhere cold or land-locked, there is no doubt where your next vacation is going to be. There are certain places that freedivers already know and flock to when they want to train, such as Dahab, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc. But even when training is not on a freediver’s mind, they know that they have the ability to explore not only the land but the water as well. Just as scuba divers do, freedivers choose many of their vacation spots based on what kind of creatures they will have the opportunity to see, or places that have amazing wrecks or untouched corals.
To some people, freediving might just be something that they try for fun or use to improve their snorkeling skills. But for the rest of us, freediving is not just a goal, but a journey. It awakens something inside of us and makes us want more of it. And whether you are at the beginning of your journey into freediving or already deep in the middle of it, everyone can agree that freediving is life-changing.