Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wetsuits effect on lung volume

Yesterday I got in my pool. The temperature(16 deg C) is way down from the summer 30+ deg C as the winter sun is not energetic. Any way my mission was to measure the effect of my wetsuit jacket on my lung volume.
I filled a 5 liter bottle and a 2 liter bottle with water and inverted them in a bucket which was 1/2 full, excluding air. I put a small pipe into each.
I took a max breath and blew into the five liter bottle till air just escaped and then blew the remainder into the 2 liter bottle.
I then donned my 7 mm jacket and repeated the exercise. The difference between the exhaled volumes was about 200 mL - the lesser volume coming from the blow when I had my jacket on - this showed what I expected. I did not have time to repeat and get an average of a number of similar experiments.
The volume I blew out was about 5.8 L
What percent difference does the suit make: 200 / 5800 is 3.5% difference.

I will repeat the exercise and include packing too next time.

Some interesting observations:
1. Back in 1992 I could only blow out a max of about 4.9 liters now after some stretches I can exhale 5.9-6 liters. It is said lung volume is not changeable but I say it is. Stretching breathing muscles can improve the volumes and packing can increase breathable volumes.
2.With heavy packing I can manage about 7 liters (note that water temp plays a role in expanding the air your exhale so you cannot compare what is done in a hot bath with what is done in a pool.)
3.Packing expands one lungs - hence some validity to my use of an inflatable pump to "pack" back in the early 90's.
4. Paching while in a hot bath is very likely to promote blackouts - I scored three in a row the other nite and abandoned the process due to risk. Heat seems to alter blood pressure and is dangerous when combined with packing(which also affects blood pressure and promotes irregular heart beating).

I will probably be offline for a while over the next week as I am going on a 10 day diving trip.

1 comment:

akonan said...

Great data! Thanks! I need to try that too.

Any comments on downsides of packing: http://forums.deeperblue.com/freediving-science/86940-packing-gi-causes-lung-injury-trained-breath-hold-divers.html