Holding your breath underwater is no easy feat, but some people have taken it to the extreme by attempting to set world records for the longest time spent submerged. According to the Guinness World Records, the current record for the longest breath held underwater is an impressive 24 minutes 37.36 seconds (1).
This achievement was made by Budimir Šobat (Croatia), in Sisak, Croatia, on 27 March 2021.
Budimir (Buda) attempted this record to promote the city of Sisak, after it was hit by a strong earthquake in December 2020. He surpassed the previous record by 34 seconds.
So how does one go about breaking a breath-holding record? It takes a combination of physical conditioning, mental focus, and proper technique.
Physical conditioning is key, as the body’s natural reflex is to breathe when it senses a lack of oxygen. By training the body to tolerate high levels of carbon dioxide and to use oxygen more efficiently, free divers are able to hold their breath for longer periods of time (2).
Mental focus is also crucial, as it can be easy to panic or lose focus when you are underwater for an extended period of time. Free divers use techniques such as meditation and visualization to stay calm and focused (3).
Proper technique is also important when attempting to hold your breath for a long period of time. This includes proper breathing techniques, such as taking slow, deep breaths before diving, as well as proper body positioning to minimize drag and maximize oxygen efficiency (4).
While attempting to break a breath-holding record is not for the faint of heart, it is a testament to the incredible capabilities of the human body and mind.
1. “Longest time holding the breath (male),” Guinness World Records, https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/longest-time-breath-held-voluntarily-(male)
2. R. Millar and J.B. West, “Physiology of Breath-Hold Diving,” in The Physiology and Medicine of Diving, 5th ed., pp. 125-147, Elsevier, 2015.
3. L. Schwiesow, “Breath Holding: A Key to Free Diving,” in Free Diving: A Complete Guide to Freediving, pp. 58-63, Human Kinetics, 2017.
4. R. Millar and J.B. West, “Physiology of Breath-Hold Diving,” in The Physiology and Medicine of Diving, 5th ed., pp. 125-147, Elsevier, 2015.