How long can humans hold their breath underwater?

Have you ever tested how long you can hold your breath underwater while swimming?

Maybe you’ve done it with friends and the results may differ from one another. Holding your breath underwater like that is nothing new. In the sport of diving, also known as freediving, there is also a breath-hold contest.

This practice is known as static apnea. Apnea means the temporary cessation of breathing and freedivers exercise to increase the amount of time they can stay underwater without rising into the air.

Currently, Budimir sobat, a freediver from Croatia, is the world record holder for the longest underwater breath-holding.

The Guinness Book of World Records recorded Budimir Sobat as the person who could hold his breath the longest in water with a time of 24 minutes 37.36 seconds on March 27, 2021.

Budimir Sobat

How long can the average person hold their breath underwater?

Citing Medical News Today, it is known that the average person can hold their breath for 30-90 seconds, this time can increase or decrease due to various factors, such as smoking, medical conditions, or breathing training.

However, one can practice holding one’s breath to increase lung capacity. There are training guides to help a person learn to hold their breath for longer periods of time.

Usually, people can use these training techniques for advanced military training, freediving, swimming, or other recreational activities.

Physical Effects of Holding Your Breath

A person needs oxygen for his body to perform vital functions and holding his breath prevents new oxygen from entering the body.

When people hold their breath, the body is still using oxygen to function and releasing carbon dioxide as a waste product.

Because carbon dioxide serves no purpose and its levels in the body increase, it can eventually trigger an involuntary reflex to start breathing again.

At first, a person may feel a burning sensation in his lungs. If they hold their breath long enough, the muscles in their diaphragm will begin to contract to try to force their breath, which can cause pain.

If a person does not continue their normal breathing pattern, they will lose consciousness. If this happens underwater, it is at this time that drowning can occur.

Benefits of Holding Your Breath

Holding one’s breath can have several health benefits. Evidence suggests that increasing lung function and the amount of time a person holds their breath can have a positive effect on inflammation, which may be important for autoimmune conditions.

In addition, it can also help increase a person’s life span and prevent stem cell damage in the brain.

However, on the other hand, holding your breath can also cause bad things such as the risk of shortness of breath to lack of oxygen which results in drowning.

The Journal of Applied Physiology also notes that several other risks of holding your breath can also occur, namely increased blood pressure, increased risk of brain damage, loss of coordination, decreased heart rate and increased blood sugar levels.

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