How to Hold Your Breath Longer
Knowing how to hold your breath longer is helpful for many sports, hobbies, interests, or even just state of mind. The following ‘how to’ outlines a couple of techniques that should greatly increase your ‘bottom time’.
1- Start with deep breathing. First practice your deep breathing, exhaling slowly from your diaphragm. Then breath in slowly. Do this for 2 minutes. As you exhale, push your tongue up against your teeth. This forms a valve which helps slow the release of air, making a hissing sound as it is released. Deep breathing charges the blood with excess oxygen, buying you a little more time once without breath.
2- Fully exhale. Remove all CO2 from your lungs. When holding your breath, the pressure you feel in your lungs is not the result of a need to breathe, but rather the result of a build-up of CO2. Exhale forcefully, pushing as much air out of your lungs as possible to help minimise this effect. Once you have exhaled completely, inhale quickly and repeat.
3- Practice holding your breath for increasing amounts of time. 90 seconds is a good start, then work up to 2 and a half minutes.
4- Before holding your breath, splash cold (about room temperature) water on your face. This triggers bradycardia/ the mammalian diving reflex, slowing the heart rate and restricting unnecessary oxygen flow to the extremities.
5- Relax. Consciously tell yourself to relax. Find your happy place! This is important both before and during breath holding. Try some self-awareness meditative techniques such as making yourself hyper consciously aware of your entire body, starting at your toes going upwards, as you deep breathe. Then mentally instruct the different parts of your body to relax. This can be done in the 5 minutes that you might spend deep breathing. Once holding your breath, do not count, infact distract yourself from time all together. Move as little as possible.
6- Do a controlled rescue inhale when taking a breath. Be sure to inhale in a relaxed manner, don’t panic and try to fill up your lungs all at once. This causes muscular tension, but more importantly, it creates a psychological predisposition to panic, preventing your body from relaxing to its full extent when holding your breath next time.
Increase general fitness for heart and lung function.
Be trimmer. Less body fat means less oxygen requirement.
Quit smoking for healthier lung function!
Practice with a partner for safety.
Practice sitting up rather than lying down as it reduces the risk of choking on your tongue if you accidentally pass out.