How Long Can An Average Person Hold Their Breath (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 30-120 seconds

A person needs to hold his breath as long as possible. Though it is unnecessary for daily life, it may help you in emergencies like a person drowned in water. Breath-holding capacity can say how healthy a person is. It may also be related to the mental health of a person.

All you need to do is practice holding your breath and improving as it does not occur in a single day. The record for holding breath might be a difficult task. Aleix Segura Vendrell from Barcelona, Spain, set the Guinness world record for holding breath 24 minutes and 3 seconds in 2016.

How Long Can An Average Person Hold Their Breath

Our breath-holding capacity may depend on our Lung’s volume. So, it is clear that a person with more lung volume can hold breath for a long time. Hence, we can say that men have lung capacities higher than Women by 10-12% likely. However, researchers still do not acutely explain how a person could keep going to hold breath for more than twenty minutes.

An interesting fact is that humans can hold their breath twice in water than on land. The reason is that mammals, including humans, have developed a conditional reflex to conserve oxygen underwater.

This ‘diving reflex’ contracts blood vessels in some parts of the body, like the limbs. Contrarily the two organs which require constant oxygen brain and heart, get a continuous supply of oxygen.

The time taken by a person to hold their breath would depend on the health condition of that person. If the person is well trained, he can do it for more time than an unhealthy person can hold their breath.

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Here is what happens when an untrained person go to hold the breath

Time Limit in secondsEffect on Body
0 to 30may feel relaxed
30 to 120An uncomfortable feeling starts in the lungs. CO2 begins to build up in blood
120 to 180The stomach starts to contract and convulse faster.
180 to 300Lightheaded feeling starts and oxygen is reduced in blood
300 to 330Muscles start to shake
Beyond 330A person might blackout beyond 6 minutes. 

Why An Average Person Can Hold Breath That Long?

 Breath-holding capacity may vary from person to person. Age and Gender also influence our breathing capacity. Research shows that a person with a long trunk can have a high capability of Lung functioning. Generally, in the breathing process, a person inhales oxygen and exhales CO2. This process will come to a halt only if a person dies.

Many organisms need oxygen to survive. Carbon dioxide is released from the body through the nose.  While holding breath, a person can utilize the leftover oxygen for body functioning. After the oxygen is used and the accumulation of carbon dioxide occurs, our body needs oxygen very severely.

In this situation, a person gradually experiences changes in the body like muscle shaking. After a few minutes, the person will blackout. The people who set records for holding breath follow a Hyperventilate technique. In this method, a person breathes rapidly so that an excessive amount of carbon dioxide is exhaled. Hence, it helps in holding breath for a long time.

Hyperventilate technique helps to get rid of carbon dioxide from the lungs. In a few instances, psychology plays a significant role in holding breath; however, not in all cases.

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Additionally, holding a breath for too long can have some side effects like nitrogen narcosis, in which nitrogen gases accumulate in blood to feel disoriented, pulmonary edema where fluid builds up in the lungs, brain damage, lung injury, and so on.

Conclusion

In Yoga, it is popular to inhale and exhale breath followed by holding breath for a few seconds. That means it is beneficial in good health. However, we should not try to keep our breathing holding for too long as it may lead to fatal in some instances. We need to practice it regularly.

A few seconds in which a person holds breath can experience much change in the body. However, people who undergo training can hold their breath for a few more minutes than an average person. There are also many techniques which help us to do so.

References

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26014330
  2. https://digitalcommons.risd.edu/masterstheses/155/
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