How To Hold Your Breath for Long Periods of Time

Underwater shot of man holding breath

Holding your breath is all about increasing your lung capacity and controlling how you breathe. If you want to hold your breath for long periods of time you will need to gradually increase your capacity and control. Follow these steps to learn how to hold your breath.

  1. Determine your base time. You need to know your starting point so get out the stopwatch and time yourself as you hold your breath. Time your breathing three times then calculate the average of the three. This is your starting point.
  2. Increase your lung capacity. Practice deep breathing and follow the next three steps to increase the amount of air your body can accept when you inhale. Deep breathing will also help you develop control of your breathing.
  3. Give up cigarettes. If you are a smoker now is the time to quit. You cannot improve breathing while you are sucking in black smoke and tar. None of these steps will work for you if you remain a regular smoker.
  4. Start each day with deep breathing. Each morning take a few minutes to work with your breathing. While laying flat on your back, place one hand flat on your stomach and the other just above so that it rests on your chest. Inhale slowly as much as you can, hold for a count of three, then exhale all of the breath. You should feel your chest expand on the inhale and contract when you exhale. Concentrate and practice so that your lungs take in a lot of air and expand with the breath.
  5. Inhale then relax. Concentrate on loosening and relaxing your muscles while inhaling and holding your breath. When you tense, your body wants to inhale. It is the carbon dioxide in your lungs that wants to exhale which causes you to tense up and feel panic when holding your breath. By relaxing you give your body more time to hold the breath.
  6. Practice controlled exhaling. Holding your breath doesn't mean you cannot exhale. If you allow the carbon dioxide to slowly leave your body through slow and controlled exhalation. During your practice sessions, as you are holding your breath, be prepared to exhale a little at a time.
  7. Swim. Swimming is an excellent choice for exercise. It requires additional lung capacity and breath control. Start with small practice sessions of a few laps then as your lungs and muscles grow more adept, you will be able to increase your water workout to several laps in the pool. Swimming also allows you to practice holding your breath.
  8. Time your practice sessions. If you practice daily to hold your breath for longer periods, then you should begin to time every other practice. Again, try no more than three breaths per practice session and then average the times.

You can practice to hold your breath for long periods of time. Be patient and slowly work up the increased capacity. Don't try to increase your ability to hold your breath too quickly; you may become light headed or feel ill.


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try yogic breathing exercises - it's healthy too :)

By Anonymous