The heart of the matter…

As a freediver, and as a living human, my heart is very important to me. In very simple terms, a fast heart rate means im using up oxygen quickly, not good. Training to have a slow and strong heart is basically the goal of all keen divers. Much of it can be achieved through good relaxation techniques, but like with any sport fitness plays a huge part, especially when you start moving.

I have seen students who have incredible breath hold times when they are doing nothing, but as soon as they start moving then it all goes downhill. No issues if all you want to do is statics, but for me at least, the idea of my freediving career being spent face first in a swimming pool watching used plasters and scrunchies floating gracefully by, isn’t a particularly thrilling prospect.

So, after popping in to town to pick up some jelly sweets to bribe the local kids to not egg our house on Halloween, I sat down with my trusty heartrate monitor for a bit of a checkup. As winter approaches, the winter training regime is due to kick in, something which I will log on this blog as I start the gym sessions.

So… hows the old ticker doing? I often get students to play with the monitor during training weekends, as its good for them to see the results of brachycardia (slowing heart rate due to breath hold)  in real time. The two numbers are heart rate and oxygen saturation. You will see that the oxygen saturation doesn’t change at all, as these photos were all taken in the first 90 seconds. It normally starts to drop at about 3 minutes (ish).  O2 is the left, bpm is the right.

Resting heartrate... not too bad
Holding my breath now... Heartrate dropping... about 30 seconds in
42 bpm.... only got one beat lower after this photo
42 bpm.... only got one beat lower after this photo
Holding my breath now… Heartrate dropping… about 30 seconds in
Resting heartrate… not too bad

Well the first photo is just before I held my breath. The 2nd photo is a little way in, just as the heart rate starts to drop after the initial peak, the 3rd photo is about 1:30 in and was where it settled the rest of the time i could be bothered holding my breath for (which wasnt long to be honest, as Tim Burtons ‘Corpse bride’ was on the telly and i want to watch it).

Overall though, not bad, should be better though. Better get to the gym as really i need my resting heart rate in the 50s.

As mentioned there is a good film on, so Im going to practice lowering my heartrate through the ancient Yogic practice of slumping on the sofa with a cup of tea.

Out for now….. Dive safe.

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