The Amazing Way to Exhale Underwater: The Scientific Description

Underwater Exhalation
  • Post category:Swimming
  • Reading time:7 mins read

If you have ever been in a swimming pool or the ocean and had trouble breathing, don’t worry. You are not alone. Many people find that they can only hold their breath for up to one minute before needing to gasp for air. This is because we were never meant to breathe underwater!

The human body was designed with an intricate system of reflexes and automatic responses that keep us alive when submerged in water, but this same system limits how long we can stay under without coming up for air.

The act of exhalation underwater is one that many divers are familiar with, but few seem to know how it works. This article will provide a brief explanation of what happens when you hold your breath and breathe out while scuba diving or swimming.

The purpose of this article, however, is to teach divers how to exhale or inhale underwater. If you already know, or plan to learn this fun skill, you can skip down below for some interesting facts and figures about scuba diving breath control.

What happened when divers dive underwater

Divers who exhale while submerged must maintain a safe residual volume of air in their lungs in order not to suffer from decompression sickness (DCS) during the dive.

When a diver exhales, the capacity of the lungs decreases, the residual volume is reduced, and the partial pressure of oxygen (PPO2) in the blood increases. The increased partial pressure of oxygen causes more gas to dissolve in the blood plasma.

Under normal conditions, this dissolved nitrogen will not be problematic because it is too much trouble for your body to actually use. However, when you inhale again, the nitrogen must be absorbed back into your body tissues before it can be used.

If you hold your breath and dive underwater for too long, the amount of dissolved nitrogen in your blood will eventually exceed safe amounts causing symptoms of decompression sickness known as ‘the bends’.

When you are planning to dive, it is a good idea to avoid holding your breath underwater. The best advice for scuba divers is to always exhale when submerging their heads while breathing normally through the regulator. By following this simple rule, you will be certain you have enough air in your lungs to complete your dive safely and comfortably.

It should be noted that a certain amount of air can be held in the lungs without causing problems. A diver who is overweight, out of shape, or otherwise lacking in strength will naturally hold their breath longer than a strong swimmer under the same conditions. This type of freediving should only be done by experienced divers.

The average adult human being has about 5 liters (14.2 cups) of air in their lungs upon full inhalation. The residual volume is essentially the amount of air left over after a normal breath and accounts for about 2 liters (0.5 gallons) of this 5 liter total lung capacity. The residual volume can vary from person to person, but it typically remains constant over time within an individual.

What is the purpose of exhalation underwater? and How does water pressure affect exhalation?

The most important reason for exhaling underwater is to allow your lungs to fill back up with air before inhaling again. If you do not exhale, and instead try to inhale while underwater, you will not be able to inflate your lungs and take in enough air.

When diving below 30 feet (or when wearing a dive computer), the pressure of the water compresses gases inside your body tissues which can cause nitrogen gas bubbles to form in your blood or muscle tissue if there is too much nitrogen in the blood.

When you inhale, your lungs cannot inflate fully because of this pressure on gases inside the tissues throughout your body. If there is too much nitrogen gas dissolved in these tissues and not enough oxygen or carbon dioxide (CO),  the partial pressure of those two gasses will be greater than that of pure nitrogen, causing nitrogen to diffuse out of the tissues and into your blood.

When you inhale again while still underwater, this excess nitrogen gas will also be released from your lungs back into the water where it can cause problems if too much is present. Divers must exhale before submerging their heads in order to avoid these harmful effects caused by excess nitrogen.

By exhaling before submerging, the diver ensures that enough air is left in their lungs to allow them to breathe comfortably and stay submerged for an extended period of time without suffering from decompression sickness.

It should be noted that divers who are overweight or out of shape may naturally hold their breath longer than strong swimmers under the same conditions and this type of freediving should only be done by experienced divers.

Steps for breathing while submerged in water

The best advice for scuba divers is to always exhale when submerging their heads while breathing normally through the regulator.

By following this simple rule, you will be certain you have enough air in your lungs to complete your dive safely and comfortably. It should be noted that a certain amount of air can be held in the lungs without causing problems. A diver who is overweight, out of shape, or otherwise lacking in strength will naturally hold their breath longer than a strong swimmer under the same conditions. This type of freediving should only be done by experienced divers.

The average adult human being has about full inhalation and the residual volume accounts for about (0.25 gallons) should only be done by experienced divers.

The average adult human being has about five liters (14.22 cups) of air in their lungs upon full inhalation. The residual volume is essentially the amount of air left over after a normal breath and accounts for about two liters (0.49 gallons) of this total lung capacity. The residual volume can vary from person to person but it typically remains constant over time within an individual.

The most important reason for exhaling underwater is to allow your lungs to fill back up with air before inhaling again. If you do not exhale, and instead try to inhale while underwater, you will not be able to inflate your lungs.

Questions about exhalation underwater

Will holding my breath hurt me?

– No, a certain amount of air can be held in the lungs without causing problems. A diver who is overweight, out of shape, or otherwise lacking in strength will naturally hold their breath longer than a strong swimmer under the same conditions. This type of freediving should only be done by experienced divers.

How long can I stay underwater after exhaling?

– The average adult human being has about full inhalation and the residual volume accounts for about (0.25 gallons) should only be done by experienced divers.

What is a diver’s lung volume called?

– A diver’s lung volume is referred to as their residual volume.

If you’ve ever had trouble breathing while underwater, the solution is more than likely right in front of your eyes. The next time you find yourself struggling to take a breath underwater, try exhaling through your nose and then inhale again with force. This simple trick will help get air flowing into your lungs effectively so that you can breathe easier!

 

Leave a Reply