Do you want to know how to hold your breath for longer? Most people can only hold their breath for 30-90 seconds, but, the world record for a single breath-hold without pure oxygen is just over 11 minutes. 

With the help of breath-holding techniques, you can increase the period of time that you are able to hold your breath and add a minute or two to your own record! Just enough to impress your friends at the pool party! 

Now, you might be wondering why you would want to do this? Breath-holding is a valuable skill to have for boosting your health and wellbeing, and  there are some simple techniques that can be implemented into your everyday life.

Let’s take a look at some breath-holding exercises, and the Oxa biofeedback wearable, a revolutionary tool that can help you hold your breath for longer. 

What is Breath-Holding?

Breath-holding is the voluntary act of suspending inhalation or exhalation for a brief period of time. 

Normal people can improve their breath-holding abilities by 3 minutes in a matter of weeks with the correct training, and by activating something called the diving reflex. 

The diving reflex is a physiological process that is activated either by submerging your face in water, or by voluntarily preventing breathing. It is characterized by: 

  • Breath-holding 
  • Slowed heart-rate 
  • Decreased blood flow to the limbs 
  • Gradual increase in blood pressure

The Benefits of Breath-Holding for Health

Breath-holding has an array of physical and mental health benefits, which are:

Get to know about: Excessive Sleep and Headaches: Understanding the Link

How can I Hold My Breath for Longer? 

By increasing your lungs capacity to take in air and training your body to be more tolerant to carbon dioxide, you can enhance your ability to hold your breath. 

Here are some useful practices you can use to improve your breath holding.

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing

A stronger diaphragm means that you’ll have more control of the amount of air you take into your lungs, as well as how long you can hold that air for. 

The result of this control is increased lung capacity, and oxygen efficiency

2. Box Breathing

Box breathing is an effective technique used by the Navy Seals to help soldiers manage high-stress situations. 

Beyond this technique's ability to help control your breath and decrease the body’s stress response, it also improves diaphragmatic strength and carbon dioxide tolerance. 

3. Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide Static Tables

Oxygen and carbon dioxide static tables are training tools designed to help the body adapt to conditions with low oxygen levels or high carbon dioxide levels. These tables are commonly used by freedivers and other underwater athletes.

These tables are based on timed static breath-holds, and they help you track your personal best breath-hold times. You start by recording your initial breath-hold time, and then follow the guidelines over a series of weeks aimed at either improving oxygen efficiency, or carbon dioxide tolerance. 

Your personal best can be reviewed every two months, and the tables adjusted accordingly. 

Also read about: Nose Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing: Benefits and Techniques

The Oxa Life Advantage in Holding your Breath for Longer

Oxa Life goes beyond generic advice. 

It provides a personalized coaching experience that tailors exercises and tracks your progress based on your unique biofeedback data. Gone are the days of relying on static tables – Oxa Life personalizes your journey for maximum effectiveness and safety.

The magic lies in Oxa Life's cutting-edge wearable technology.

It tracks real-time biofeedback like heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV – a measure of nervous system function), and blood oxygen saturation. This data is your body's voice, revealing your optimal training zone and preventing you from pushing yourself beyond safe limits i.e. which do not trigger too much fight or flight response. Imagine a coach who constantly monitors your vitals and adjusts the workout accordingly – that's the power of Oxa Life's biofeedback system. 

Beyond Breath-Holding: The Oxa Life Advantage

Oxa Life's program isn't just about holding your breath for longer. 

By optimizing your breath control, you unlock a treasure trove of benefits that extend far beyond the surface. 

Deeper sleep, reduced stress, and enhanced focus are just a few advantages you can expect. Proper breathing techniques, as facilitated by Oxa Life, strengthen the mind-body connection, leading to a more balanced and  fulfilling life.

Ready to Breathe New Life into Your Wellbeing?

Purposefully holding your breath for extended periods of time may seem bizarre at first, but it’s clear that this practice should not be reserved for the underwater community alone. 

Practicing to hold your breath for longer by improving your lung capacity and carbon dioxide tolerance can be majorly beneficial to your health and wellbeing. It’s important to stay consistent and track your progress, and that’s why having Oxa on your side makes all the difference. 

Don't settle for generic breath-holding techniques. Explore Oxa Life and discover a safer, more personalized approach to not only holding your breath for longer, but also unlocking  a world of health and well-being benefits.

Just keep breathing. 

FAQ on Breath-Holding:

Q: What is the diaphragm?

The diaphragm is a large dome-shaped muscle at the base of your lungs and is the most efficient muscle for breathing. Your abdominal muscles aid the diaphragm emptying the lungs during exhalation. 

Q:  Is breath-holding safe?

Breath-holding should always be practiced safely and within your limits. Never attempt breath-holding underwater on your own, and listen to your body. If you experience any discomfort, dizziness, or lightheadedness, stop immediately and breathe normally. If you have an underlying medical condition, you must consult a healthcare professional before attempting breath holding techniques. 

Q: What is apnea training? 

Apnea training refers to the practice of holding your breath. Static apnea training may be practiced by floating in water with your face submerged, or on land. It is popular amongst the free-diving community and is aimed at increasing your maximum breath-hold duration. 

Q: Why can biofeedback help you hold your breath longer? 

Biofeedback helps extend your breath hold by guiding you. It tracks real-time data like heart rate and heart rate variability to show your optimal training zone and prevent overexertion. By monitoring your body's stress response, biofeedback also helps Oxa Life tailor exercises to improve your breath control efficiency, ultimately letting you hold your breath for longer.

Q: How often do I need to practice breath-holding techniques to see results? 

If your aim is to reduce stress and promote relaxation there are breath-hold techniques, like box breathing, that can be effective immediately. If your goals are to enhance carbon dioxide tolerance, and increase lung capacity, this can take much longer. This kind of training requires months of daily training in order to yield results.

Stéphane Janssoone
Published:
July 15, 2024

A former elite triathlete, now a competitive freediver, MBTI I & 2, Certified Wim Hof, and Oxygen Advantage Instructor, epitomizes mastery in breathwork and personal development. As the founder of the Breathing Academy and Oxa Life’s Breathing Advisor, his transformative breath-based techniques profoundly impact individuals’ health and performance through an innovative and holistic approach.

Ready to begin?

Get the Oxa Sensor and your choice of garment - lounge-wear shirt, bra, or adjustable chest strap. Your purchase includes access to the Oxa app which gives personalized data summaries and insights, as well as access to breathing exercises to teach you how to harness the power of your own breath.