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Exercises for Holding Your Breath Underwater

By Joshua McCarron ; Updated August 14, 2017

Swimming for recreation and competition is popular the world over. Whether it be in a pool, lake or ocean, people enjoy spending time in the water. Holding your breath underwater is an element of swimming that some are better at than others. There is a certain state of mind that enables some people to stay under for long periods of time. There are also exercises that can help you hold your breath underwater longer.

Slow Your Heart Rate

When your desire is to hold your breath underwater for longer periods of time, it makes sense that if your body requires less oxygen, you will be able to last longer. If you are swimming and moving around a lot, this may prove difficult, but slowing your heart rate down to any degree will help. Learning how to relax your mind and enter a semi-meditative state will help slow down your heart rate. Learning the breathing techniques of yoga will help. The key is to relax your body and mind as you enter the water.

Increase Lung Capacity

If your lungs can hold more oxygen, you will be able to spend more time underwater. One way to accomplish this is to train your lungs to grow and increase their capacity. The best way to increase your lung capacity is to simply force more air into your lungs in a safe manner, so they become accustomed to holding more. Find a comfortable place and breathe as deeply as you can, so your lungs are completely full. Hold the breath for as long as you can, then repeat. Do this several times per day, trying to stuff a little more air in each time. Interval training exercises like sprinting that force you to pant for air can also increase your lung capacity.

Make Yourself Efficient

Improved blood circulation and a healthy body weight will go a long way toward making your body utilize oxygen more efficiently. If you are overweight, begin a weight loss program and lose the extra pounds. Herbs such as cayenne pepper and ginkgo biloba reportedly can help improve blood circulation. When holding your breath, the problem you end up with is oxygen deprivation, so the more efficient your body is, the better off you will be.

Let It Out Slowly

One trick to last a little longer once you are under the water is to let your breath out very slowly. Many people get into a panicky state of mind and break the surface gasping for air. Your lungs will be full while you are underwater, but if you let out little bits at a time while you are still there, you will be able to hold your breath longer.

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