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Light Exercise During Deco Stops

Jan 15
A laptop screen showing a heart ultrasound image

Dr. Denise Blake performs a heart ultrasound scan on a NOAA diver after a deep dive. Dr. Blake assisted Dr. Neal Pollock during the NOAA Diving Program research performed on NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai on bubble formation in the hearts of divers conducting deep mixed gas dives. 

During last September’s research expedition on the NOAA Ship Hi’ialakai, Dr. Neal Pollock, Divers Alert Network (DAN) Research Director and Research Associate at Duke University Medical Center, partnered with the NOAA Diving Program to conduct non-invasive research on bubble formation in the hearts of NOAA Divers diving to a maximum depth of 300 ft.

During the course of the research, NOAA divers discovered that engaging in light exercise during their decompression stops could reduce the number of bubbles that could be found later during post-dive heart ultrasound scans. Although moderate to strenuous exercise could be harmful by promoting bubble formation, mild exercise appeared beneficial. Although this study did not have the number of subjects or controls to provide conclusive evidence, the findings were nonetheless interesting and useful for the divers involved.

Note: high joint forces during or after decompression should be avoided wherever possible.

Read more about exercise and diving in this article by Dr. Pollock published in the DAN website:

In the video below, a NOAA Diver using a closed-circuit rebreather (CCR) engages in light exercise during a decompression stop.





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