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How to Free Dive

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Humans have been free diving—plunging under the water with just a lungful of air—for over 2500 years, and today’s top pros can make it 700 feet deep on a single breath. If you want to explore the deep without a scuba tank, here’s what you’ll need to do.

1) Keep Up the Good Work

Technically, if you enjoy dunking your head just a few inches below the waves, you’re already a free diver. Congrats! Of course, if you want to join the world of deep-sea free diving—called competitive apnea—you’ll need more know-how.

2) Trust Your Reflexes

Your mammalian diving reflex, that is. When cold water splashes against your face, your body’s physiology changes. The reflex kicks in, making your heart rate sink and your outer blood vessels constrict. It also releases oxygen-rich red blood cells into your bloodstream. Altogether, thanks to the MDR, you can hold your breath longer underwater than you could on land.

3) Chase Away the CO2

The world’s best free divers can hold their breath over 10 minutes. That’s because they know how to deplete loads of CO2 from their bloodstream. Increased concentrations of CO2 encourage the urge to inhale. If you can deplete your bloodstream’s CO2 stock, you’ll be able to stay under longer.

4) Breathe Up

“Breathing up” is one of the best ways to do just that. Practice by timing your breaths, and exhaling for twice as long as you inhale. (If you breathe in for three seconds, breathe out for six.) With practice, this will stabilize your heart rate and remove extra CO2 from your bloodstream.

5) Get Your Land Legs First

You’ll need to build up your body’s CO2 tolerance, too. After doing the breathe up exercise for a few minutes, hold your breath and walk as far as you can. When you can walk the length of a football field, you’re ready to free dive.

6) Start Slow

Get in the water and go for it, starting with baby steps. Go 10 feet until it’s easy. Then shoot for 15 feet. When that’s a cinch, chip your way to 20.

7) Equalize Yourself

Once you’re below 10 feet, your body will need to adjust to the pressure—your ear especially. Pinch your nose and exhale until you hear a pop. But don’t worry about adjusting on your way back up: your ear will do that on its own.
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You don’t have to take a dive to be more interesting – you can always do that just by raising a cold Dos Equis.

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How to Shave With a Straight Razor
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Our Be More Interesting series will teach you new skills to wow your friends. Today, Max Silvestri learns to shave with a straight razor. 

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How to Cross a River Without a Bridge
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Need to cross a roaring river? It’s always best to find a bridge, but if you absolutely must make it to the other side on your own, a few easy steps can keep you high and relatively dry.

1. Scout Around

Invest a little time in finding the best place to make your crossing. Avoid bends in the river, where water whips around the fastest. Once you find a suitable spot, walk downstream a few hundred feet to make sure there aren’t any hazards. It’s always good to know about the pesky 30-foot waterfall around the bend.

2. Don’t Be Narrow-Minded

They look tempting, but narrow crossings can be the most dangerous—they’re often the deepest part of the river. Look for the widest section instead. Keep an eye out for mild ripples—which are safe to cross—and avoid whitecaps, which can be treacherously slippery.

3. Ditch Your Duds

If the water will reach your knees, strip down to your skivvies - your pride isn’t worth getting hypothermia from wet clothes. Even if the river is shallow, remove your socks and put on a second pair of shoes if you have them. If you’re backpacking, unbuckle your front straps so you can quickly slip out of your pack if you fall.

4. Shuffle Up

Face upstream, lean into the current, and move across the river with shuffling sidesteps. You’re less likely to fall while sidestepping since you don’t lift your feet as high. If you’re with a group, link arms. The technique creates more contact points with the streambed and gives everyone a more solid footing.

5. Become a Bump on a Log

If the rapids are too fast, shuffling across may be a bad idea. Look for a log that spans the whole river instead. But don’t walk on it! Wet wood can be dangerously slippery. Instead, straddle the log and scoot along until you reach the other side.

6. Float Away

In situations where the river is deep but the current isn’t very swift, a football or soccer ball can be a handy improvised flotation device. Tether it to your wrist and grab on when you get tired of swimming. Or hug it with one arm as you sidestroke for extra buoyancy.
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Once you make it to the opposite shore, dry off and toast your successful crossing with a round of Dos Equis.

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