Freediving is a sport that encourages us to exercise, maintain a healthy diet, and to possess strength and flexibility, all to keep us safe in the water and to inspire progress. But freedivers are humans; we drink alcohol when we are sad, when we are happy, when we are celebrating a new achievement, etc. If a freediver consumes alcohol the night before training or directly after, how does it affect them?
Our muscles need vitamins and minerals that come from being well-hydrated. With freediving, due to sweating from spending so much time in the sun and immersion diuresis (the need to pee), we lose a lot of water that contains vitamins and minerals during our training sessions. This can make freedivers more susceptible to heatstroke, fatigue, headaches, and decreased strength and performance.
Muscles and Lactic Acid
Since your liver is under more stress while trying to flush the alcohol out of your system, your body will not be able to eliminate the lactic acid it produces while training like it normally would, which can cause you to tire quicker.
Cognitive and Motor Function
Alcohol can result in delayed reaction times, poor hand-eye coordination, diminished judgement, and the inability to learn and remember new information. This can pose a serious risk for a freediver on their own dive or for a freediver who is acting as safety, where snap decisions may become necessary.
Drinking After a Dive
Plenty of freedivers like to enjoy a beer after a good session, especially after reaching a new personal best. But is this good for our bodies? Of course, the longer you wait before drinking, the better. Just make sure to drink plenty of fluids before popping open a beer bottle, and try to stick to only one drink; your main focus after diving should be to replenish the electrolytes and rehydrate.
We are all humans, whether we are freediving athletes, students, instructors, or just occasionally training. In the end, it is your body and your choice, just make sure to think of your buddy’s safety as well as your own when you are making such decisions.