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

The average person deserve to hold your breath for 30–90 seconds. This time have the right to increase or decrease as result of various factors, such together smoking, underlying clinical conditions, or breath training.

You are watching: How long can a person hold their breath underwater

The length of time a person deserve to hold your breath voluntarily typically ranges from 30 to 90 seconds.

A person deserve to practice breath-holding to increase their lung capacity, and also there room training indict to assist individuals find out to hold their breath for much longer periods. Training normally takes numerous months.

People may use these training approaches for advanced military training, complimentary diving, swimming, or various other recreational activities.

This article will look in ~ the physical effects of breath-holding, benefits, risks, and increasing lung capacity.

What happens when you organize your breath?

Share on PinterestImage credit: Blend images – JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images
A person needs oxygen for your body to perform vital functions, and also holding in a breath prevents brand-new oxygen from entering the body.

When people hold your breath, the human body is still using oxygen to duty and to relax carbon dioxide as a rubbish product.

Because carbon dioxide has actually nowhere come go, its levels in ~ the human body increase, eventually triggering the involuntary reflex to start breathing again.

At first, a human being may feeling a burning sensation in their lungs. If they hold their breath long enough, the muscles in your diaphragm will start to contract to try to pressure breathing, i beg your pardon can reason pain.

If an separation, personal, instance does not resume their usual breathing pattern, they will shed consciousness, and if they are in a for sure location, the human body should automatically begin to breathe and also start to gain the oxygen that needs.

Should a person not it is in in a for sure location, such together underwater, it is right now that drowning may occur.

Benefits that breath-holding

Holding in a breath may have actually some advantage for a person’s health. Evidence suggests that boosting lung function and the amount of time a person have the right to hold their breath may:

Another study carried out top top salamanders discovered that hold oxygen aided them regenerate brain tissue. Person participants have not taken part in this study, although similar properties may exist in people or other animals.

Risks of breath-holding

A person have the right to hold their breath safe when external of water and also in a for sure environment, and in many cases, lock will give in to your body’s responses to absence of oxygen prior to they happen out.


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

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

The report figured out that two males in the training process for advanced military testing had drowned ~ passing out underwater. They had passed out because of the diminished pressure native the oxygen in their blood.

Other hazard factors

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

However, according to the Journal of used Physiology, some additional risks might include:

increased risk of brain damageloss of coordinationreduced love rateincrease in blood street levels

If a human is interested in boosting their lung capacity, they deserve to train their bodies and also lungs to walk without oxygen for progressively long periods.

Divers might use apnea training to assist them rise their lung capacity. The idea behind the maintain is to slowly increase a person’s capacity to host their breath by alternate between breathing and also breath-holding for a set variety of minutes.

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

See more: How Much Does A Tummy Tuck Cost Of Tummy Tuck In Ma, Tummy Tuck Plastic Surgery

A human can generally hold your breath for a couple of seconds come a tiny over a minute prior to the advice to breathe again becomes also strong.

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

In enhancement to the entertain or professional benefits that an raised lung capacity, a human being may experience additional health services from breath-holding.

If practicing in water, an individual should consider their safety. This could include swimming with others and also having who close who have the right to perform lifesaving methods should they come to be unconscious.