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Effects of aging

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Aug 21, 2001
Diving might be the ideal sport for later life--no impact, less strength needed, less need for speed, etc.
But is there anybody here who´s been around long enough to assess the affects of aging on performance. It seems to me that while a 55 year old man will have a performance disadvantage compared to a 25 year old, that the disadvantage would be miniscule compared to the same age difference in basketball, tennis, softball, etc.
Does anybody have any info or opinions on this.
(As Mike Kolbas says, "Freediving is the extreme sport of old guys.")
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It's funny you mentioned this topic - I am going to be interviewing Bill Ernst, who is one of the top freedivers and spearfisherman here in the states about this very topic - and he's in his 50's...

I'll keep you posted on this...
I suspect that the widom that comes with age would be very helpful (awareness), and that the slower metabolism would also be of great benefit, as long as the diver is fit and healthy.
Erik Y.

A very interesting thread. The affects of aging are very easy to define. You lose one heart beat per year, roughly 1/2%. The big question is, at what age do you start. In our society, physical ability deteriorates around age twenty. Looking at aerobic sports professionals (Iron men and bike racers) and the best amateurs (marathon runners distance swimmers), aging doesn't start until after 35 in some cases. Looking at sports where power or speed is most important seems to back up the observation but technique/experience becomes a big factor.
When we look at diving and aging we have some interesting questions. Does the lower maximum heart rate help or hurt? What about increased body fat, slower recovery (less training possible), more relaxed approach and less competitiveness.
Cliff, when you do the interview, tell Bill that his old spearfishing and bike racing adversary says hello.

P.S. I never finished ahead of him in spearfishing.
Looking on the bright side . . .

Sorry, but I can't help offering the following hypothesis:

My freediving is improving with age as a result of everything else going downhill:

Brain cells are dying, thus, less O2 required for cognitive function;
Liver and immune function declining, thus, less 02 demand;
Less testosterone and resulting muscular atrophy = less 02 demand (but maybe increases cognitive function slightly);

There's more, but you get the idea. If I continue along this trend, one day, I won't use any oxygen at all!
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OK. Don't pick on me. I just got my first Social Security check.

>There's more, but you get the idea. If I continue along this trend, one day, I won't use any oxygen at all!

If using zero oxygen is the only alternative, I'll take growing old and feeble any day

We're all in this together

Not pickin' on you at all Bill . . . just an attempt at humorously rationalizing my own future as a freediver. . . thought others might relate to it. [It also justifies my passion for good wine as killing brain and liver cells may increase my bottom time - but that's another study altogether.]

But seriously, this would be an interesting research topic for a sports physiologist. I can think of many reasons why age might not reduce freediving performance as severly as it does some other athletic activities. If I find time, I'll check with the UF Center on Aging to find out if they know of anyone doing work in that or a related area.
The psychology of aging.

Interesting notion and some great research projects here for the more scientifically inclined. Much of the discussion has looked at physiology of aging but it is equally important to understand the psychology involved in this.

One important aspect of this is that as we age the reasons for freediving may change. I know that when we were doing our version of the "Crazy Cuban" techniques back in the early '70s in Lake Tahoe most of our motivation came from mating drives. We wanted to be seen as studs with breeding potential. We didn't know this of course but it was interesting to notice that we were more apt to see how deep we could go when attractive women were around than when it was just a bunch of us guys (then we were working at getting a bunch of women around mostly by sitting around and talking about how wonderful it would be if a bunch of women would just happen to drop by).

As I aged and my reproductive success had been assured my reasons for diving changed. I became interested in the dive itself and found that I did not want to dive with while ladden with breeding hormones. Instead I enjoyed not having an audience and preferred to dive with a few friends at most. I have long since found much pleasure in talking about freediving with nondivers. My wife is adventuring but freediving does not float her boat so I don't get much gee whiz gosh bang from my endeavors from her either. We love the places we go and the interaction with the water and aquatic life. I still love to go deep but will gladly sacrifice depth for down time.

For all the reasons mentioned in the other posts I take great comfort in knowing that I can do this for most of the rest of my life and don't concern myself much with how I will be doing at 80 (which is still over 30 years off - but just barely) as did in my late teens and early 20s. I am curious to learn how freediving changes for me then.

But there maybe enough of us "seasoned" folks around to consider some sort of masters competitions or get togethers. Kona sounds good. How do you feel about a bunch of old farts crashing at your place Bill?
Yeah, Bill, what about it? I'm trying to go on a holiday next month, and it might be Mexico. I'm waiting for Snorklebum to reply to my request to sleep at his place, but I've never been to Hawaii...should I go? I'm a poor student, can I still go? Flights are usually cheap, especially when one walks up to the desk at the last minute. I'm 38, do I qualify as an old fart yet? Should I bring my speargun? Am I annoying you? Sorry, but I've had good experiences meeting Freediver48 (old fart) and Laminar (not so old fart) in the last 6 months, after getting to know them on this site. Up here in the frozen wheat fields of Canada I have no freediving friends, which is why I am apparently a "Deeper Blue Addict". :waterwork
Erik Young
Everyone wants in

We are forging ahead now. When young whelps like Erik want to be part of the old farts club you know we are redefining cool. Sorry Erik, but unless you are really decrept you have a few years of wear and tear ahead of you before you will really qualify as an old fart. But psychologically you might be there so we will have to consider if this just a chronological age thing or if mental age counts. If mental age counts to much though a lot of us old farts will be kicked out because of our delayed development and for just simply being immature.

I think that we need to let the young pups come along so we can mentor them in appropriate skills that only come with age - like carrying my weight belt down to the boat.

Of course the fact that I am stuck in this land locked desert with no hope of escape to warm waters of the of the southern oceans has no bearing on this. I am trying to get a residency in Oahu so maybe I'll be living there by this time next fall.
Next year I will be living somewhere warm and coastal. Bahrain, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, and Caracas are distinct possibilities. You are all welcome to join me if you like...just not all at once.
Erik Y.

I'm not aware of many studies in the area except for studies of aging in the Japanese
ama divers. Very little overall deterioration has been found that is not considered as being normal. The olders divers, some into their 70s, typically still dive for profit, however they tend to dive shallower, and for fewer days of the season.

Best wishes,

Doug Morgan,
Lantzville, B.C.
Hi guys. Kona is nice but a little pricey. Even crash pads go for a premium and are near impossible during summer or winter. The cheap fares end up in Honolulu, leaving you two airplane tickets short and sometimes one night there. Having another dive partner sounds great but my room mate says she'll pass on the strangers in her 'grass shack'.

Does 'Effects of aging' refer to normal aging as it applies to diving or affects of diving on aging? The answer to the last part is easy. Something about sea water slows the aging process.

I want to know; if the best diver sets a constant ballast record of 90 meters, should I expect to go to 80 if I have the right stuff. All I have to do is go 10% slower, it will take 80% of the energy. Right.

Hi Bill,

As far as I can remember there were no more medical abnormailties found in the diving sample, than the nondiving sample. I guess saggy breasts is saggy breasts.

best wishes,

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