Health & Diving

Decompression Sickness

Decompression Sickness

Workload

During the Dive

The timing and intensity of exercise during a dive can substantially affect your risk of DCS. A high workload during the descent and bottom phase of a dive will increase your inert gas uptake, effectively increasing the subsequent decompression stress. And exertion near the end of or immediately after a dive, particularly if it involves high joint forces, can stimulate bubble formation and increase the likelihood of bubbles passing through the lungs without being filtered out of the circulation. You should keep your exercise intensity as low as possible during the bottom phase of a dive. Mild exercise — on the order of no more than two to three times resting effort, and with very low joint forces — is appropriate during the upper ascent and stop phases of a dive. However, any exercise, particularly exercise involving high joint forces, should be avoided as long as possible after a dive. If you are unable to avoid postdive exercise, you should keep your dive profiles very conservative to minimize your overall risk.
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