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Affects on freediving when cold

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Feb 25, 2002
Hey all,

I'm definitely in the newby category for freediving, only been doing it for 4 months or so, but am loving it :D . I have been doing some practice/training and up till tonight it was all either dry static or in a heated pool during the day (air temp about 55-65degF). Tonight I had the urge so my partner and I hopped the fence on the pool and did a session. It was cold. Air was about 45degF and the water was cold enough that if I swam I was marginally warm enough, but during breath ups I would shiver some.

The impact shocked me. Normally my dry times are close to 4min, warm water times 2:30 or so, but tonight in the cold I'll be damned if I broke 45 seconds :( ! What gives? Is this a psychological or physiological thing. I also noticed that while usually 2-4 rapid breath ups makes me mildly light headed, in the cold I did 20 with absolutely no sense of hyperventilation. Whats happening?

Similarly could someone explain why in general wet static times are noticeably shorter than dry times, or is this just a matter of psychological conditioning?

Thanks ahead of time,
Have been woundering the same thing, my dry statics are longer then my wet ones.. May it have something to do with doing dry on my back and wet the other way around? Anyone got a clue?
Hey guys, the basic answer is that your body must burn O2 just to try and maintain body temperature, which drops your breath hold times dramatically. Even in relatively warm water, it is imperative that you are warm, as even a few degrees difference will affect your times. A good suit is important.
Erik Y.
Thanks for the feedback, though I still am curious for some more details. I can understand the raise in metabolism to maintain body temp (though I checked my pulse and there was not much difference). But, I am still a little confused by the inability to hyperventilate. I mean I tried HARD to hyperventilate and under normal circumstances would have caused myself to fully pass out with about half that much effort. So I am wondering if something happens in the lungs, like the cold air causing the body to reduce blood flow to the lungs so that you don't lose as much heat in your breathe. Also of course would be if there is anyway to modify this response.

I dont think the cold air would reduce blood flow to the lungs. In the cold your body does the exact opposite, it constricts all of the peripheral blood vessels in an attempt to redirects it to the core.

I know when exercising in the cold your O2 uptake is proportionally higher due to shivering and contraction of muscles. This could well be the reason why you are unable to hyperventilate. Hyperventilation is reliant on an over compensation of O2 (resulting in a lower alveolar PCO2), but if your body is using this faster it will take longer to achieve overcompensation (make sence?). If your body is using O2 faster, it makes sence to say that it will also produce CO2 faster. A build up in CO2 is what triggers us to breathe. This would probably also explain why your times in the cold water are shorter.

Cold water or water in general reduces my diving times/apnea times quite dramatically, but a good wetsuit can do lot of good....says happy owner of Escalpez wetsuit...wish I could get it into water sooooon........... ;)
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