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Light headedness at begining of breath hold

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Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2004
During my breath ups routine when diving, some times I experience a slight light headedness during the first 5 seconds of the dive and then it passes. I usally abort the dive if I feel any signs of it coming on. I don't believe I am hyperventalating because I'm only taking four breaths per minute.

I usally take 6 second to breath in, hold for 2 or 3 seconds, and breath out for about 5 seconds.

What am I doing wrong?
Have you tried quickening the time it takes to breath in, then lengthening your outtake time?

From what I understand, the heart naturally speeds up when you breath in.

Is it lightheadedness you get when you stand up too fast? Or is it lightheadedness you get when you blow up too many baloons?

Is it 5 seconds before the first dive, or each dive?

I find that a couple semi-deep dives help me get my body to the proper diving state for the real diving to follow. It gets me in the zone mentally and physically, I suppose.
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It could happen on any dive or breathhold pratice hold, but only on the first 5 seconds and then I'm fine for the rest of the hold. It doesn't seem to make a difference whether its the first dive or hold or the fith.

Although, once I nearly blacked out blowing up this large rubber doll.... :D :D :D
heh-heh. Well at least you had soft, undiscriminate (if not squeaky) arms to wake up in.

Do you pack? Sometimes after packing you can get light-headed for a few seconds.

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Oh, yes...this is true. Good point.

nice, signature caption, Benny....then there's also..."I bent my wookie."
Ahh. . . maybe I'd better not comment on the last couple of posts. . . Anyway, back to the main question. Dallas, you are hypervetilating. Breathing rate is not the important factor. What is happening is your breathing rate (whatever it is) is dropping the co2 content of your blood too low. Brain capillaries are narrowing and starving the brain for o2. That's no big deal as long as you don't pass out immediately. But, in the long run (at the end of the dive) blood ph will still be too high (co2 level too low), o2 release from red blood cells will be slowed and, opps, you are at risk of a bo.

An old rule that has worked for me is to stop the breathup or dive if feeling dizzy or tingly, don't breath for 20 seconds or so, take a couple purge breaths and go. Don't push the dive and breath up less the next dive.

The " fast in, slow out" breathing works for me. When I'm down to being comfortable in a breathup with 2 + breaths a minute, take 3 or 4 purge breaths and go.

So your saying instead of a 6 second breathe in, I should breathe in fast and exhale slow, is this correct? Should I hold my breath for a moment after the breathe in?

As far as packing goes, I just recently tried packing for just a few breathes. After about 2 or 3 packs, my chest feels pretty tight.
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Thanks Sinkweight.... where would the world be without Ralph Wiggum? :D

I used to use the slow in slow out approach like you are doing but found it was very easy to overbreath. Also takes more energy than fast in slow out. Fast in is about 1 sec for me, hold about 3 seconds, exhale slow about 20 seconds. Use your tongue to regulate exhale rather than ribs or diaphram, uses less energy. This pattern is very relaxing, supposed to slow heart rate and is harder to over breath. Also makes it easier for me to know when the body is ready for another dive.

disclaimer: I'm just an old fart who tries stuff till I find what works for me. There is lots better adice in these threads. The yoga gurus know a bunch. Try the search function.

Lightheadedness at the start of a breath-hold is NOT necessarily an indication of hyperventilating.

It can be caused by both low CO2 and/or low blood pressure and/or being excessively alkaline (from diet or other reasons). Low blood pressure can be caused by being too hot (vasodilated), dehydration, eating vasodilating foods such as garlic, onions or pineapple; or it can even be somewhat genetic; it can also be caused by large amounts of cardio training.

In some people, taking a single very deep breath can lead to a blackout (it nearly happened to me once).

The problem will be worsened if you attempt to inhale while standing or sitting, rather than floating face down.

The problem can be reduced by:
- Cooling the body (vasoconstriction increases BP)
- Avoiding vasodilating foods
- Eating more salt and drinking more water (together!)
- Storing more water in the body by eating lots of starchy carbohydrates and drinking lots of water along with it
- Breathing less before the dive
- Pausing for 10-30 seconds with full lungs, right before the last breath
- Inhaling while floating face down, or better yet, float with your feet at a depth of 5 feet, with your ears barely above the water; the water pressure gradient forces blood from your legs to your head, improving the BP in your brain
- Eat more acid forming foods (meat, eggs, etc.), not necessarily the best solution
- Packing less or taking less air (not a good idea, not the best solution)

I would say I'm a specialist in this area since I blacked out at the start of my dive at the AIDA world cup in Switerland in August 2000. After that I spent years trying to figure out why it happened (back then there was no one to ask!)

Either way, if you sense lightheadedness as you start the dive, the probability of a blackout or samba at the end of the dive is GREATLY INCREASED.
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I used to feel the same, but it soon went with practise. Now I can even pack without any problems.

Hi everybody, may be you can find information here, that happen to me too.

[ame="http://forums.deeperblue.net/showthread.php?t=57693"]Pretty anoyed at 8-10 sec[/ame]

I hope help you
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