How much can a person really not breathe?
Anyone can do the breath-holding experiment using a stopwatch. How many turned out. Half a minute, forty seconds, a minute? If a little more, an untrained person can safely consider himself a winner. But then the reflex will overpower the desire to continue the test, and inhalation will be inevitable.
However, studies have shown that a person is capable of holding their breath for a longer time. Exercise, the right mental attitude and the knowledge of what is actually happening in the body now give excellent results. This is confirmed by the experience of athletes who are professionally engaged in quite fashionable freediving today.
Diving with breath holding
Scuba diving without oxygen-supplying equipment, exclusively with breath-holding took shape in a professional sport quite recently, but it is enough to recall the exciting stories about pearl divers and other deep explorers to understand that the practice itself is hundreds and even thousands of years old. After the movie Blue Lagoon, directed by Luc Besson, appeared on the screens in 1988, interest in freediving became widespread.
Of course, in order to win crushing victories, and simply to impress spectators and fans with the duration of their stay under water, athletes have to train for a long time, theoretically and practically mastering several disciplines. But the main one is called static apnea, the ability to which, in fact, determines the success of a freediver.
What is Static Apnea?
As you know, in medical circles, apnea refers to the cessation of breathing, which is caused by inhibition of the respiratory center. Static apnea is different in that a person is comfortable with it at his own request. Lying in the water, the athlete holds his breath for as long as he can. The winner is the one who managed to get the highest result.
Many people believe that training the body, or rather, the ability to stop breathing, is important, but not enough. Athletes reconsider their conscious attitudes, some practice meditation, do yoga, self-hypnosis and other practices aimed at slowing down the conversion of oxygen into carbon dioxide.
Immediately before the competition, it is recommended not to eat anything so that the metabolic processes are as slow as possible. Of course, coaches, doctors and psychologists are involved in the preparation and support of athletes in serious competitions.
Who are the record holders?
As of mid-2020, no one has yet managed to break the record of Frenchman Stefan Mifsud, who held his breath for … 11 minutes and another 35 seconds during the 2009 competition. The legendary Natalya Molchanova became the record holder in the “women’s standings” with a score of 9 minutes 2 seconds. Unfortunately, the 22-time world champion, who set more than forty only recorded world records two years after a unique result, breaking away from the team, disappeared while diving into the Mediterranean Sea and, after a long unsuccessful search, was first recognized as missing, and then dead.
Professional sports is always about incredible plowing, taking risks and acting on the brink of opportunity. Perhaps none of the representatives of the “amateur camp” will even be able to come close to world records, although unique indicators among non-professionals are known – 4 minutes and even a little more. This indicates that the body has those hidden reserves that no one really thinks about, and their study, as well as the right training, can really change your life.
By the way, there is one more, but already much more dangerous way to achieve success in static apnea, which is strictly prohibited and punishable in professional freediving. This is hyperventilation of the lungs, when before important competitions the body gets rid of carbon dioxide to the maximum and is saturated with pure oxygen. In this way, the Dane Steve Severinsen in 2012 was able to hold his breath for 22 minutes. This indicator, entered in the Guinness Book of Records, has not yet been surpassed.