Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI — composed by Jenna Fletcher ~ above November 24, 2020

The mean person deserve to hold your breath because that 30–90 seconds. This time can increase or decrease as result of various factors, such together smoking, underlying clinical conditions, or breath training.

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The size of time a person have the right to hold your breath voluntarily generally ranges native 30 to 90 seconds.

A person deserve to practice breath-holding to rise their lung capacity, and there room training accuse to help individuals learn to hold their breath for much longer periods. Training normally takes numerous months.

People might use these training approaches for advanced military training, totally free diving, swimming, or other recreational activities.

This write-up will look at the physical effects of breath-holding, benefits, risks, and increasing lung capacity.

What happens once you hold your breath?

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A human needs oxygen for their body to perform an important functions, and holding in a breath prevents brand-new oxygen from entering the body.

When civilization hold their breath, the body is still using oxygen to function and to release carbon dioxide as a rubbish product.

Because carbon dioxide has actually nowhere to go, that is levels in ~ the human body increase, ultimately triggering the involuntary reflex to begin breathing again.

At first, a person may feeling a burning sensation in your lungs. If they host their breath lengthy enough, the muscles in their diaphragm will start to contract to shot to force breathing, i beg your pardon can cause pain.

If an separation, personal, instance does no resume your usual breathing pattern, castle will lose consciousness, and if they are in a for sure location, the human body should immediately begin come breathe and start to obtain the oxygen it needs.

Should a person not it is in in a for sure location, such as underwater, that is currently that drowning might occur.

Benefits the breath-holding

Holding in a breath may have actually some advantage for a who health. Evidence argues that raising lung role and the quantity of time a person have the right to hold your breath may:

Another study brought out on salamanders found that holding oxygen aided them regenerate brain tissue. Person participants have actually not taken component in this study, although comparable properties may exist in people or various other animals.

Risks that breath-holding

A person have the right to hold your breath safely when outside of water and also in a safe environment, and in most cases, castle will provide in to their body’s responses to lack of oxygen before they pass out.


When a human is underwater and also gives in to your body’s organic responses come breathe, the lungs will certainly fill through water, and the human may require emergency lifesaving therapy to avoid a deadly outcome.

In 2015, the Centers for condition Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on inadvertently drownings indigenous dangerous underwater breath-holding behaviors. These had social games, such as breath-holding challenges and also training exercises.

The report determined that two men in the training procedure for progressed military experimentation had drowned after ~ passing out underwater. They had passed out as result of the decreased pressure from the oxygen in your blood.

Other hazard factors

Unless a person holding your breath is underwater or in an same dangerous environment, they space not in any type of imminent danger.

However, follow to the Journal of applied Physiology, some added risks may include:

increased risk of mind damageloss the coordinationreduced heart rateincrease in blood sugar levels

If a human being is interested in raising their lung capacity, they can train their bodies and also lungs to go without oxygen for progressively long periods.

Divers may use apnea cultivate to help them increase their lung capacity. The idea behind the cultivate is to gradually increase a person’s ability to host their breath by alternate between breathing and breath-holding for a set number of minutes.

Before attempting to increase their lung capacity, a human being should look for guidance from their medical care provider and also consider maintain with professional diving experts and also those knowledgeable around lifesaving techniques.

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A human being can frequently hold their breath because that a few seconds come a small over a minute prior to the advice to breath again becomes as well strong.

Individuals deserve to increase their lung volume by practicing holding your breath for much longer periods.

In addition to the to chat or professional benefits of an enhanced lung capacity, a human being may experience extr health services from breath-holding.

If practicing in water, an individual should consider their safety. This could include swimming v others and also having someone close who have the right to perform lifesaving approaches should they become unconscious.