How do I stop The Nose Pinch?
November 15, 2005 6:07 PM   Subscribe

How can I jump in a pool without holding my nose? I'm an ok swimmer, but I've kept a bad habit since childhood of holding my nose whenever I go underwater. If I really concentrate, I can do it without, but very often I end up quickly blowing out all my air (through my nose), or worse actually inhaling some water. I know this is just psychological, but I find it quite hard to do all the time. Any tips/hints on this one?
posted by zardoz to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total)
you need to practice being underwater with your sinuses closed, that is, no water goes in, no air comes out. just practice that being IN the water, and then figure out what your nose/throat/etc. is doing to do that (basically like holding your breath with a little pressure outwards, but not blowing air). then you can add in jumping.
posted by kcm at 6:10 PM on November 15, 2005

a little more advice towards this.. try blowing air out your nose, then closing your throat so that no air can get out no matter how hard you try - it may feel similar to really giving a #2 a good push on the toilet if you overdo it. :)
posted by kcm at 6:13 PM on November 15, 2005


posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:30 PM on November 15, 2005

Funny one, this. I've never had to hold my nose. You just sort of - man, it's hard to describe - keep a head of pressure up in your nose. As if you were about to exhale through your nose but you don't actually do it.
posted by Decani at 6:30 PM on November 15, 2005

Forgive me if this answer comes off as condescending, it certainly isn't meant that way.

Drink a glass of water. Notice what your nasal passage is doing each time you take a gulp of water and it's passing down the back of your throat. This is the same muscle action you want to hold in order to prevent water from entering your nose.
posted by odinsdream at 6:36 PM on November 15, 2005

I'm with kcm on the blowing air out your nose part. The way I learned to keep my sinuses closed underwater was by first blowing air out of my nose. As you become more comfortable underwater, your body will naturally close your sinuses and you'll no longer have to blow air out.
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 7:10 PM on November 15, 2005

Try pressing your tounge to the roof of your mouth,supressing the urge to blow it out your nose.
posted by hortense at 8:09 PM on November 15, 2005

RE: Blowing air out your nose.

We had a pool growing up, and I spent a good part of my childhood summers underwater. I used to get ear infections and swimmer's ear all the time, and I eventually linked it to letting all the air out of my lungs when I went underwater. By "linked it" I mean that once I stopped blowing air out my nose, I stopped getting ear infections. Correllation != causation, but keep it in the back of your mind.

My theory had to do with decreasing the air pressure in your body, and how this might let more water get stuck in the ear canal, but it kind of sounds stupid when I say it now.

My advice for going underwater without holding your nose is the same as my advice for getting to Carnegie Hall, but I guess one tip is that if you swallow, but close your throat before finishing it, you will make a barrier than is air and water-tight. You want to hold it at about the point where you could most conveniently making a "gulp" noise.
posted by Hildago at 8:41 PM on November 15, 2005

Not sure if this is really the type of solution you're looking for, but have you ever considered wearing a nose clip like this one? It doesn't address the psychological aspect of the problem, but it would hopefully keep you from having to plug your nose.

But then there's the additional psychological issue of not looking very cool. Depends what kind of pool you're in, I suppose.
posted by PhatLobley at 9:02 PM on November 15, 2005

Blowing air out underwater has nothing to do with ear infections. Otherwise all swimmers would have them, as when you do flip turns, you blow out.

Zardoz, do you mean how do you keep water from going up your nose as you jump in or as you are underwater? For the former: blow out. For the latter: blow out if you are upside down. Otherwise, I have never ever had water go up my nose, so I am afraid I cannot help.
posted by dame at 9:05 PM on November 15, 2005

I don't know if it will help the OP any, but I have this exact same problem. Never been able to get over it myself, I just relegate myself to never being a very good swimmer. :P
posted by chason at 10:06 AM on November 16, 2005

like mr_crash_davis, I hum. It lets me breath out through my nose while metering the flow of air. When you do a swimming stroke, you don't want to hold your breath. You inhale when your mouth is out of the water, and hum when your nose is underwater. One advantage is that you can swim upside down without getting your sinuses full of water.

Practice humming while putting your face in a handful of warm water in the shower. Once I was comfortable with the humming, holding my breath was just a matter of clamping down on the hum with my palate.
posted by mediaddict at 10:23 PM on November 16, 2005

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